Cursed by chronic knee injuries, Canberra Raiders junior Haydon Hodge has retired at the age of 23.
The former Australian Schoolboys representative attempted a comeback with the Raiders this pre-season, playing in the Auckland Nines and scoring a try in the club's opening trial match against the Melbourne Storm.
Hodge was welcomed back to the Raiders on a trial contract, which was due to expire at the end of the month.
"I know I've given it everything I could to give myself a chance of making a comeback to professional footy," Hodge said. "The reality is though that my knee is not up to the heavy workload you need to compete at NRL level, so I've made the decision not to continue.
"The club's been absolutely wonderful over the past two years while I've dealt with my injuries. They didn't have to give me another shot but they did and I can walk away now knowing I've given it everything I had and I can be proud of the effort I put in."
Hodge is likely to play in the Canberra Raiders Cup this year and continue as an assistant coach with the Raiders' junior development squads.