Eorl Crabtree has retired from rugby league.
The iconic Huddersfield Giants prop has today called time on his outstanding playing career and will move into an ambassadorial role within the club’s commercial and marketing department.
The 34-year-old made 423 appearances and scored 79 tries for his hometown club, as well as representing England on 18 occasions.
Crabtree admits injuries made the decision a lot easier, with the pain of the announcement eased by the fact he will remain in the game at the club who has served throughout his professional career.
“It has been an honour and a pleasure to serve my hometown club throughout my entire professional playing career, with my contribution to club and country being recognised by an RFL year-long testimonial,” he said.
“My head and body are telling me it is time to hang up the boots while still a regular Super League first-teamer.
“So having performed for the Giants on the field for nearly two decades, I am gearing up to bring them results in an off-field role in sales and marketing.
“I’m delighted to accept the invitation to continue working for my native club who have been so much a part of my adult life.
“While retirement from playing is a major landmark, the bonus is that I can have my nose put back to its original position!”
And Giants managing director Richard Thewlis paid tribute to the one-club man: “Eorl has been an outstanding player for this club and no-one should be in any doubt that he ranks amongst the finest professional sportsmen to ever come from Huddersfield.
“His playing record in the toughest sporting league, in physically the toughest position to me marks him out as someone very special. I would hope that in years to come he will become the first of the modern Super League Giants to be considered for our prestigious Hall of Fame.
“He was the mainstay and cornerstone of our pack for years and without doubt a talisman for the supporters to get behind.
“His role changed over the years as the game developed and different coaches had different ideas on how to best utilise his talents, but what never waned was his absolute love and pride in the Giants’ badge and brand.
“I am sure that many coaches and players over the coming days will make their own tribute to the big man and I am personally delighted that he remains at the club within our marketing and commercial functions as it’s an opportunity that he fully deserves.
“It’s a career path he wants to go down and if he can do as well off the field as he did on then we have a fabulous asset to assist the growth all our income streams.”
With Crabtree confirming he’s hanging up his boots, it means head coach Rick Stone now has more cash available to bring in fresh faces, with Kyle Wood and Josh Johnson having also just left last season’s squad.
The busy boss has admitted he’s not ignoring the fact Leeds Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker is on the market and his club is continuing to be linked with Newcastle Knights No1 Jake Mamo, although whether the Giants’ salary cap could still
permit any potential major deals for such players being done is still far from certain.
It’s already widely believed the Giants have signed Bradford Bulls trio Dale Ferguson, who looked impressive in the Scotland back-row against England on Saturday night, Lee Gaskell and Paul Clough.
And if that’s the case, then Huddersfield’s hopes of capturing a new big-name signing may not be a straight-forward move.