Dayne Weston To Retire At The End Of 2017 Season

Leigh Centurions can confirm that Dayne Weston has decided to retire from the game at the end of the current season to return home to Australia.

The popular prop forward, who was contracted until the end of the 2019 season has made the decision due to family reasons following discussions with Leigh Centurions Owner Derek Beaumont and Head Coach Neil Jukes.

Weston joined the Club from Melbourne Storm and enjoyed a stand-out debut season in 2016 when he earned a notable hat-trick of awards as Coaches’, Players’ and LCTV Player of the Year.

Dayne Weston said: “I always said my last game would be for Leigh Centurions and at the end of this year that will be me done. I am determined to leave on a high with the Club having cemented its place in Super League.

“It’s time to put the family first. My wife, Jess, was always going to go home with the kids at the end of this year as our youngest is starting school and there’s no way I can stay over here for another two years without them.

“Physically I could play for another five years but mentally I’m won’t be there without them so we are going back together and I am looking forward to transitioning into the next chapter of our lives.

“We’re going to live on the Gold Coast and I’d like to stay involved in the game on the coaching or conditioning side of things. Over my career I’ve learned a lot from the different coaches I have played under, how to get the best out of people and improve them as players and individuals and I feel I have a lot to offer.”

Looking back at his decision to come to Leigh Weston has no regrets.

“It has been absolutely brilliant,” he said. “To come over here last year and be involved with a Championship side that earned promotion to Super League was the highlight of my career. That’s something you can’t get the chance to do in Australia and to be part of it and achieve our goal was the biggest thing I’ve achieved as a player.

“I don’t play the game for individual accolades but I was more than happy and proud to pick up those awards as the club means an awful lot to me and my family.

“Leigh feels like home. It reminds me of my home town in Goulburn where everyone is friendly and helps one another. I’ve not a single bad thing to say about Leigh and we have made so many close friends here both inside and outside the rugby club.

“Derek and Jukesy were brilliant with me when I told them of my decision and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done to help me since I’ve arrived. Leigh Centurions really is a great family club.”

Looking back on his career Weston said: “I nearly gave the game away at 14 but my old man (father Micheal) pushed me back into it and persuaded me to give it another go. At 19 I got released by Cronulla but then the coach got the sack and the new coach, Ricky Stuart, took over and gave me the opportunity to prove myself. Thanks to him I was able to make my first grade debut at the age of 20 in the NRL and I will always be in his debt.

“Thanks to Ricky having faith in me I was able to pursue my dream of being a full-time footy player and since then it’s been a roller-coaster of ups and downs.

“My last ambition now as a player is to ensure Leigh Centurions are in Super League next year. We’ve been unlucky at times this year and have thrown a few games away. But if you look at the quality of the players in the squad we will come good. As a group of players we are determined to do it and personally I want to be remembered in Leigh for going out on a high.”

Leigh Centurions Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “First and foremost I’d like to thank Dayne for his efforts for the Club. Last year, my first as head coach, he played an instrumental role in our success and made a big impact on and off the field. This was recognised by him deservedly cleaning up at the awards evening.

“Dayne’s decision to retire has not been taken easily but to have the burden of carrying on playing and not seeing your family is far too much to bear. I respect him for making his decision for those reasons and know that it was a no-brainer for him.

“There is no way our Club would stand in his way as our values are ‘family first’ and we always adhere to that.

“As I stated, Dayne has made a big impact in where we are as a Club and before he goes home there is a lot of work to be done to ensure we maintain our Super League status. I know Dayne will play his full part in that and want to go out on a high and I shall look forward to working with him for the rest of the season.

“On behalf of all the staff and players I wish Dayne and his family all the best for the future and I know we will keep in touch and that Leigh Centurions will have a big place in their hearts.”

Leigh Centurions Owner Derek Beaumont said: “I was obviously disappointed from a rugby point of view when Dayne informed me of how he was feeling but as a person and his friend I was glad he made the call.

“He is a family man and absolutely dotes on his wife and children and once I knew they were going back early I didn’t think it would work for him or be right for their family for him to stay. This hit home to me when I was at his wife Jess’s 30th Birthday party and Dayne played an emotional video. I think this was also when he realised.

“At our Club we say family first and when Dayne came over to talk to me I had the utmost respect for the manner in which he did it and the timing of it as I know it would have been hard for him to break the news to me, and although I made it as easy as possible he wouldn’t have known that.

“Dayne holds a valuable quota spot and he knew the importance of that and the need for me to know early from a recruitment point of view and I have the upmost respect for him for recognising that. I regard Dayne, his wife and children as genuine friends of my family. He was simply outstanding last year and instrumental in our club making history in achieving Super League via the new system.

“His performance against Salford in the 8s will always stick with me as probably the toughest front row display I have seen, when he knocked Flash (Mark Flanagan) out with his own chin and dusted himself and went again whilst Flash went off, cleaned out. He lives up to the saying of being harder than a ‘dog’s yed’ and he certainly deserved every accolade bestowed upon him by his fellow players, coaches and fans at the awards ceremony.”

Derek Beaumont added: “Dayne has also had a massive influence off the field in terms of selling the Club back home and assisting in recruiting targets such as Travis Burns and Glenn Stewart and perhaps more notably for his outstanding community work, in particular with Ben’s Wish, which has been unbelievable.

“This season has been difficult for Dayne, coming back from injury and having the family issues to deal with, but I am completely confident he will give me his team mates, coaches and the fans everything he has got to go to war to keep this club in Super League.

“There is obviously a lot of negative news around the Club and there’s never a good time for news like this surrounding a popular player. There is no doubt it would have been better to keep a lid on this until the end of the season but that wouldn’t be in Dayne’s best interests or that of the group and I also want the fans to be able to give him the respect and send-off he deserves.

“Dayne will be a big loss to the field but will be a big asset to any coaching or conditioning department as he is focussed, driven and professional with a competitive edge. I wish him and his family every success in the future and look forward to visiting them over in their country in the near future and staying friends with them as they embark on their journey of life. I am sure our fans will accept this with compassion and understanding and join me in wishing Dayne well for the future.”

Weston 30, missed only one game in Leigh’s promotion campaign last year and brought an imposing physical presence and consistency of performance to the pack after earning Heritage Number #1401.

He has also become heavily involved as an ambassador for Leigh Community Trust and devised an anti-bullying programme for local schools among his tireless work in the local community.

Alongside that Dayne also started a charity called Ben’s Wish, which was set up for eleven-year-old Leigh boy Ben Robinson who has Cerebral Palsy and has been battling leukaemia for the last twelve months. Dayne set up the trust account to make life a little easier for Ben and his family during what is a difficult time.

Born in Goulburn, New South Wales he earned a scholarship with Illawarra Steelers and began his top-flight career in the NRL in 2007 with Cronulla Sharks. He later played for North Queensland, Penrith and Melbourne Storm in the NRL and for Burleigh Bears in the Queensland Cup.

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