FORMER Warrington Wolves forward Ryan Bailey has announced his retirement with immediate effect.

The 34-year-old has hung up the boots after a 17-year career and plans to start a new job in the fire service.

Starting out his career with Leeds in 2002, Bailey quickly established a reputation as a tough, uncompromising forward opposition fans loved to hate.

In his 13 seasons with Rhinos, Bailey won six Grand Finals, two League Leaders Shields, the Challenge Cup and three World Club Challenges from 307 appearances and also won four caps for Great Britain in 2004.

After leaving Headingley in 2014, he went on to have brief spells in Super League with Hull KR, Castleford and Warrington, for whom he played in the 2016 Grand Final, before ending his career outside the top flight with Toronto, Workington and Leigh.

Warrington Guardian:

Ryan Bailey gutted after Grand Final defeat with The Wire. Picture: Mike Boden

"I just wanted to retire on my terms," Bailey said.

"I don't want to carry on playing for the wrong reasons, I've had a good career and want to finish with those happy memories, not on a low.

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"I set some goals when I was 18 to play five Super League games. I ended up with around 300 and a lot of trophies.

"I've been lucky with injuries and maintained my fitness. Off the pitch, I've had ups and downs but I've come through it stronger.

"Playing for Great Britain was probably the biggest one for me, playing the Kiwis and beating the Aussies."


Bailey added: "I've got a family to think about, I'm putting them first now as I start a new chapter.

"I still feel fresh and that's why I've joined the fire service. It's a team environment with a good bond and will help keep my fitness while contributing to the community."