KEIRON Lander, the heart and soul of the Ipswich Jets for the past five years, has announced his retirement at season’s end.
The commitment with which Lander has always played the game has taken its toll on his body.
The 28-year-old concedes the decision was made with a tinge of sadness.
But with a growing family and having recently begun a university degree, the timing was right to call it a day.
“There was sadness because I’d play another 10 years if my body would allow it,” he said.
Lander has led the Jets and Queensland Residents teams with success and distinction, but for much of his career it seemed he was destined for higher things.
But while circumstances conspired against him, stopping him just short of making Super Rugby and NRL debuts, Lander has no regrets.
The one thing left for him to achieve is a Queensland Cup title, but he has forbidden his teammates from trying to use his retirement as a motivating factor.
Fat chance. Whether he likes it or not, the players will be motivated to dig extra deep for their departing leader.
“I didn’t want to use it as a motivation going into finals,” Lander said of his decision to announce his retirement well before finals.
“I made it clear to the boys a long time ago.
“The motivation is about the Jets’ football club.”
Lander said he had made the decision mid-way through the season.
“I’d been thinking about it a lot,” he said.
“I’ve started studying an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) this year.
“That’s taking up more of my time.”
Playing with constant pain was also a factor, given he wants to spend more time with partner Christina and sons Buddy and Jed.
“It’s time to give my body a rest,” Lander said.
“I’m sure doctor Roy Saunders would agree with me.
“I’ve got the back and neck of a 60-year-old and probably need my shoulder cleaned out.
“I want to spend more time with my family, go camping with them and be home to do things, like go to theme parks instead of going to football.”