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St George Illawara halfback Nathan Fien retires

After 14 years and 272 games in the NRL, St George Illawarra halfback Nathan Fien announced his retirement on Thursday.

The 2010 premiership winner, who was at the centre of the `Grannygate' controversy over his eligibility to play for New Zealand in the 2006 Tri Nations campaign, made his debut with North Queensland in 2000 before moving to the Warriors in 2005 and the Dragons in 2009.

Fien, 34, will play in the Illawarra local competition next year but his days in the NRL will end with a round 26 match against the Warrior at WIN Stadium with the joint venture out of finals contention.

"I feel really fortunate to have had the career and opportunities that rugby league has presented me with," Fien said.

"I am extremely grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way, from the start that the Cowboys gave me, the opportunity to cement a place in first grade at the Warriors and the opportunity be a part of the Dragons and win a premiership.

Nathan Fien Photo: Photosport
"Whilst I believe that I could have played on at the NRL level, the timing is right for me to step back from the NRL.

"The Dragons have recruited really well for next season, they are in good shape and I am really pleased to be able to stay involved in the game I love and the area through the Thirroul Butchers."

A hooker for the majority of his career Fien was thrust into the halves by coach Steve Price and the Mt Isa junior has consistently struggled to spark the Dragons attack.

The club has brought Melbourne's Gareth Widdop and Canberra's Sam Williams for the 2014 season, a move that would have forced Fien's hand.

A bench player for St George Illawarra in their 2010 grand final win, Fien will perhaps be best remembered for the 2006 `Grannygate' saga.

Despite playing one game for Queensland in 2001 Fien played for the Kiwis during the 2006 Tri Nations despite being ineligible to do so.

He claimed eligibility based on the grandparent rule before it was later revealed it was based upon his great-grandmother.

Fien, legitimately qualified to play for New Zealand in 2007 through residency rules but not before the Kiwis were stripped of Tri Nations points and NZRL chairman Selwyn Bennett resigned over the incident.

Fien played 20 Tests for the Kiwis.


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