Injury forces Luke Walsh to retire

Luke Walsh established himself quickly within Saints ranks following his high-profile move from NRL side Penrith Panthers
Luke Walsh established himself quickly within Saints ranks following his high-profile move from NRL side Penrith Panthers
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Former St Helens scrum-half Luke Walsh has announced his retirement at the age of 30 after failing to recover from a serious ankle injury.

The former Penrith Panthers goalkicking half-back was in his second year with Catalans Dragons when he sustained significant ankle-ligament damage in the third match of the 2018 Betfred Super League season at Hull KR on February 15.

Luke Walsh's time at Saints was blighted by injury

Luke Walsh's time at Saints was blighted by injury

Walsh has now taken the advice of several doctors to hang up his boots.

Catalans head coach Steve McNamara said: “It’s always sad when a player has to retire early due to injury.

“Luke has tried everything possible to get himself into a position to play again but unfortunately that can’t happen.

“His commitment and contribution to the Dragons is something we as a club really appreciate.”

Walsh stops Leeds Rhinos Zak Hardaker in his tracks

Walsh stops Leeds Rhinos Zak Hardaker in his tracks

Walsh enjoyed a distinguished career in the NRL where he made 140 appearances for Newcastle and Penrith, and was a high-profile capture for St Helens ahead of the 2014 season.

He made an impressive start to his Super League career, helping Nathan Brown’s men top the table before breaking his leg and tearing ankle ligaments in a match at Widnes in July 2014.

Walsh feared at the time that his career was over and he was forced into a spectating role as Saints went on to win the Grand Final.

He made his comeback the following April but was never the same player and left the club at the end of 2016 to join the Dragons under coach Laurent Frayssinous, initially on a 12-month deal.

Walsh missed only two matches last season and - after kicking five goals to help the Catalans to a victory over Leigh in the Million-Pound Game that secured their Super League status - he signed a new contract for 2018.

Catalans chief executive Christophe Jouffret said: “Walshy has been a great player for our club who always produced brilliant and consistent performances.

“His capacity to organise, his kicking game and his professionalism both on and off the field were second to none.”

Walsh scored 460 points in 63 appearances for St Helens and totalled 204 in 29 matches for the French club, with an 85 per cent success rate with the boot.

Wash said: “I would like to thank the club for the support since I arrived.

“I have made some good friends here and I’d like to thank the coaching staff, especially Laurent Frayssinous who recruited me to the club.

“I wish all the best to the boys for the rest of the year and for the future of the club.”

McNamara has already begun the search for a replacement and failed in a bid to sign former England scrum-half Matty Smith on loan from St Helens.