Keary adamant concussion fears not behind retirement

Scott Bailey |

Rooster Luke Keary says his retirement is not connected with concussion.
Rooster Luke Keary says his retirement is not connected with concussion.

Luke Keary has rejected any suggestion his retirement is due to concussion fears, adamant that if that were the issue, he would no longer be playing in the NRL.

Keary announced plans last week to walk away from the NRL at season’s end, leaving behind a one-year extension with the Sydney Roosters already signed for next season.

That had prompted suggestions the 32-year-old’s decision was due to repeated concussions, with his most recent suffered in round two against Manly.

But speaking publicly for the first time since making the call, Keary said that simply wasn’t the case.

“That’s definitely not it. Honestly it wasn’t even one of the reasons or factors that came into it,” Keary said.

He added the speculation frustrated him “a little bit – you don’t want to be seen as that guy obviously”. 

“But I know in myself reasons why and things like that. That definitely wasn’t one of them,” he said.

“And if it was, I wouldn’t be playing today either. I don’t think you can play in the NRL with that in your mind. 

“I wouldn’t have played (last weekend) if that was one of the reasons. I would have pulled the pin earlier.”

Luke Keary.
Keary is eager for more finals glory with the Roosters in his final season. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS)

Keary said he had been clear on his reasons to retire for some time, before finally making it official via a lengthy video on the Roosters’ website last week.

The three-time premiership winner and 2018 Clive Churchill Medallist simply believed the time was right to finish up.

In so doing, Keary has set up a last-dance style situation at the Roosters, joining Joey Manu, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Joseph Aukuso-Suaalii in leaving the NRL.

And while he is adamant that is not yet a driving factor to go out as premiers this year, Keary said it would naturally impact the energy with which he and others play.

“We’re always trying to try to be the best we can be. But obviously, there’s a fair few of us moving on,” he said. 

“So we know it’s like our last little bit together. Especially like Jared, Joey, myself, we all played a long time together. 

“We’re literally just trying to enjoy these moments as much as possible. Trying to play as good footy as we can and finish off in style.

“We don’t talk about it as a motivation. But I dare say there’s a few of us who really just want to enjoy it. And to enjoy it you’ve got to play good footy.”

Keary’s form has landed him in the NSW State of Origin conversation, particularly given the left-edge combination he has with fellow Rooster Angus Crichton.

But after playing one game for the Blues in 2020, Keary appeared genuinely bewildered when asked about his chances of playing.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Keary said.

Asked if he would like to play Origin again before he retired, Keary responded: “I honestly haven’t even thought about it”.