Talanoa announces retirement
Two-time Challenge Cup winning winger Fetuli Talanoa has announced his retirement from professional Rugby League with immediate effect.
Talanoa, 31, has decided to call time on his 13-year professional rugby league career after suffering a fresh injury which will require surgery in the near future.
The former Tongan international and South Sydney Rabbitohs outside back was Lee Radford's very first signing as head coach of Hull FC, and Talanoa has proved to be of great value after over five years of service to the club.
Winning the 2014 Hull FC Player of the Year award in his debut season at the KCOM Stadium set the benchmark for Talanoa, who amassed 128 appearances and 59 tries for the Black & Whites.
The New Zealand born winger ended the 2016 season with a Challenge Cup winners medal, when he was a part of the 17-man squad that recorded Hull's first ever Wembley victory, as well as being the club’s top try scorer that season.
He followed it up with another memorable campaign in 2017 as the Black and Whites lifted the cup again, with Talanoa scoring a try in the final.
But after suffering consecutive injuries which have plagued him over the last twelve months with Hull FC, the 31-year-old has decided to call time on his career.
On the decision to retire from professional rugby league, Talanoa told hullfc.com: “This has been the hardest decision for me and my family but the timing now feels right for our journey to come to an end.
“Injuries have been taking their toll and it has come to a point where I would like to put my family first and take them home closer to our friends and relatives in Australia.
“I have really enjoyed my time here at Hull. The club and the city has felt like home for us from the very beginning and I will always look back with very fond memories."
He continued, “The back-to-back Challenge Cup wins are special moments and the whole experience from those matches and the celebrations will never before forgotten.
“This city, the club, my coaches and team mates, the staff behind the scenes and the supporters will always have a special place in my heart.”
Hull FC head coach, Lee Radford, made Talanoa his very first signing after taking over at the helm back in 2014 and he has been a permanent fixture in his side ever since.
Hull’s coach had a special tribute to his departing winger.
“Fetuli has been a fantastic servant to this club who will be remembered for being an integral part of two historic Challenge Cup winning squads.
“He has been a champion bloke who has been a popular part of our team for a number of years.
“It’s a great story of the club bringing someone out of the rugby league wilderness, giving them an opportunity and and watching them grasp it with both hands."
He added, “It is disappointing to see his career finish in the way it has after a challenging time on and off the field, but he gets to leave the club on his terms and can be extremely proud of his performances for Hull FC.
“The most important thing for him now is his family and I would like to wish Fetuli, Kristie and the children all the very best for their life back in Australia."
Talanoa will be special guest of the club at the upcoming Derby fixture against Hull KR, before heading home to Australia later in the month.