By Sydney Morning Herald
The last remaining member of St George Illawarra’s drought-breaking NRL premiership side still at the club, Jason Nightingale, has announced his retirement.
New Zealand international Nightingale, 31, has confirmed he will hang up the boots at the end of the season. He will front a press conference alongside Dragons coach Paul McGregor on Thursday morning.
The one-club winger, who has played 265 NRL games, is the last remnant to the joint venture’s title-winning side from 2010, which was crafted by Wayne Bennett.
The 33-test veteran would have easily eclipsed Dragons assistant coach Ben Hornby (273) as the most capped St George Illawarra player of all time if he had chosen to extend his career into a 13th NRL season.
But he can still equal Hornby’s mark if St George Illawarra, clinging to a top four spot, make the grand final and Nightingale plays every match for the remainder of season.
Renown United junior Nightingale, who debuted in 2007, temporarily lost his starting spot midway through this season and has been used as a utility off the bench at times, but has been reinstated to the flank in recent weeks.
He trails only Matt Cooper and Brett Morris as the most prolific try-scorers in the history of St George Illawarra.
He will also retire as a member of one of rugby league’s most exclusive clubs, players to have featured in 250 NRL matches, more than 30 internationals, scored 100 tries and won a premiership.
The others are Billy Slater, Darren Lockyer and Brad Fittler. Nightingale’s exit will pave the way for the Dragons to use highly-rated teenager Zac Lomax, Jordan Pereira or Kurt Mann on the wing on a more regular basis in 2019.
Nightingale’s announcement adds another star to the retiring class of 2018, which already includes Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Luke Lewis, Ryan Hoffman, Sam Thaiday and Simon Mannering.
Press conference: Jason Nightingale announces his retirement from the Dragons at the end of the 2018 season.#redv
Posted by St George-Illawarra Dragons on Wednesday, 8 August 2018