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Retiring Mortlock proud to lead Rebels

"It's been an absolute privilege and honour to play for the Rebels" ... Stirling Mortlock.

"It's been an absolute privilege and honour to play for the Rebels" ... Stirling Mortlock. Photo: Mal Fairclough

HE HAS had a standout career over 15 seasons, but Stirling Mortlock, who yesterday announced he would retire at the end of the Super Rugby season, still believes there were things he could have done better.

However, the 35-year-old said there could not be a better way to finish than by leading the Melbourne Rebels for his final three games.

''You always look back and think there are things that you could have done more of or better or made more contributions, but that fuel and hunger and desire is what helps guys get the best out of themselves,'' Mortlock said.

''I think that's the way most guys at this level have to be. You always want to do better, want to give more. Having said that, I've been very lucky to have done a lot of things that I've done and to be part of some amazing teams in some great eras, and finishing of my career at the Rebels is a massive highlight for me.''

Mortlock, regarded as one of the best centres of his generation, played 80 Tests for Australia, 29 as captain, and more than 140 Super Rugby games since his debut for the Brumbies in 1998.

But yesterday Mortlock conceded his bash-and-crash style, which led to many injuries, had finally taken its toll and after spending a large part of this season on the sidelines, he could not see how his body could carry on.

Mortlock is in the second year of a three-year deal with the Rebels but has played only five games this season because of a calf injury and has been in the starting team only once, against the Brumbies in round 15.

''It's been an absolute privilege and honour to play for the Rebels through its first season and this year, but I feel personally it's the right time for me to go out,'' he said.

''I still love doing exactly what I'm doing, I still love contributing to the team … unfortunately this year being on the sidelines for nine or 10 weeks at the beginning of the season was extremely frustrating and tough, and I wouldn't want [that] to happen if I was to go around again …

''I want to feel like I am making a decent contribution to the team as opposed to being a passenger.''

Mortlock will play his last game in Australia when the Rebels play the Reds at AAMI Park on June 29.

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
 
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