Former Wakefield Trinity, Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams forward Keegan Hirst retires
The 32-year-old prop was poised to line-up for Batley Bulldogs next year but has opted to retire after a 13-year career in the professional game.
Hirst began his career in the Bradford Bulls academy before joining Hunslet in 2008. He left the Leeds-based outfit for Dewsbury Rams in 2009, appearing 68 times for the club before joining Heavy Woollen rivals Batley Bulldogs in 2012.
After two seasons at Mount Pleasant, Hirst made the switch to Featherstone Rovers but after playing 20 times for the Post Office Road outfit, he returned to Batley in 2014.
The 32-year-old spent another three years with the Bulldogs, helping them reach the Super League Qualifiers in a memorable campaign in 2016.
In 2015, he came out as gay, becoming the first first British professional rugby league player to do so.
After leading the Bulldogs to the Qualifiers, Hirst finally got his shot in Super League, joining Wakefield Trinity on a two-year deal.
He spent some time back at Dewsbury on loan in 2017 but made 66 appearances at Belle Vue before joining Halifax on loan in 2019 and later joined the West Yorkshire club permanently in 2020.
After his season at Halifax was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic, Hirst had agreed to join Batley for a third time in 2021 but has now decided to retire.
"I've decided to retire from rugby league, the game that has been part of my life for the last 20 years," Hirst posted on social media.
"It's with a touch of sadness, a hell of a lot of memories and a hell of a lot of gratitude that I say farewell to rugby league.
"I speak a lot about living according to your values and doing what's important to you. That changes over time for everyone and I myself have come to that point.
"I'm moving onto the next chapter of my life, having taken so much and given so much - both ankles and a front tooth, to name a few things - to the game that has been a constant in my life over two decades.
"Do what you love for as long as you can but don't do it because of a sense of obligation or pleasing someone else. Nobody benefits from that.
"It's been a blast."