Castleford’s long-serving winger Kirk Dixon has announced he will retire from rugby league after undergoing surgery to replace a disc in his neck during the off-season.
Dixon, who joined the Tigers from Hull FC in 2007, said that he had planned to hang up his boots at the end of the 2015 season. However, following the surgery, he would have been on the sidelines for the majority of the season and so has decided to bring his career to an end now. Dixon said:
“I’ve had surgery to remove a disc and I’ve had an artificial disc put there, and it was going to be at least six months no contact rehab period. I already had an idea I might retire at the end of the 2015 season. But it has to come to an end now and you simply can’t put a price on your health.”
The 30 year-old was a first team regular for Cas last year, helping them finish fourth in Super League and reach the Challenge Cup final. Dixon bagged fifteen tries from twenty-five appearances in both competitions last season, and coach Daryl Powell was quick to praise the winger:
“His work rate and attention to detail in his practice has been absolutely superb during my time at the club. I know everyone connected with the playing and coaching staff will be hugely disappointed with Kirk leaving the club.”
Tigers players took to Twitter after the announcement had been made at the 2015 squad number unveiling. Jamie Ellis tweeted:
“Was gutted to hear the news about
@Kirk_Dicko retiring today. Good luck in your next chapter mate. You’ll be missed more than you know;” meanwhile Tigers captain Michael Shenton said:
“Very emotional day, one of my best mates in the game has announced his retirement. An absolute champion person and great player
The Hull-born player said he will miss his adopted town and club:
“I will miss everything about this place; the office staff, the coaches, the players, Castleford itself. There’s a great bunch of people here at Cas, and an honest set of fans who always pick you up when you need it.”
Dixon vacates the number 2 shirt for Cas, which will be taken in 2015 by 23 year-old James Clare.