ADAM SULLIVAN has revealed the forthcoming 2013 season will be his last in professional rugby league – and he hopes to go out on a high.
Former Press Player of the Year Sullivan, 30, will begin the season on the sidelines as he awaits treatment on a long-standing knee injury, diagnosed as patella tendonitis.
But, having been a virtual ever-present in most of his ten previous seasons at this level – be it for the Knights, for whom he will be embarking on an eighth campaign, Hunslet, with whom he had two years, or first club Hull KR – he is eager to get playing as soon as possible, and then help to lift the club into play-off contention in the Championship.
“This will be my last year,” the prop forward told The Press. “I’m 30 now and I’ve always said you get to a point where you should call it a day. It’s a young man’s sport these days, I think. You look at the kids in our squad – they’re all hungry. It’s just how it is. I think the way the sport is going anyway – people are getting bigger, faster and stronger, and there’s more impact.
“I’m happy with what I’ve done in the game. I’ve won promotions with York and Hunslet and I had a good spell in France, with Lyon. I now want us to have a good season at York.
“I think we’ve got to make the play-offs. Last year was really disappointing, not helped by the injuries.
“Making the play-offs in this league would be good.
“People don’t realise just how good some of the teams are in the Championship. Teams like Featherstone and Leigh – they’re looking to be in Super League and are more or less full-time.
“But then you also look at teams like Sheffield and Batley. They’re similar to us, but they do really well. Obviously Sheffield won the Grand Final last year.
“I think the key is getting bonus points if you’re going to lose. It means you’re always picking up points.
“Hopefully this season will be better for some of our young players like Kriss Brining and Ed Smith. Playing at this level a lot last year will have benefited them.”
Sullivan has been waiting for some time to hear back from doctors about a recommended course of action on his troubled knee.
He was told by a specialist before Christmas that an injection might provide a quick solution, but the festive period and his wedding to Sam – the pair were married during a holiday in America – have come and gone and he is yet to hear anything further.
The club are still chasing the matter up.
“I’ve been struggling with it for three or fours years,” Sullivan explained.
“Last year it got a lot worse but because of the injuries in the squad I carried on playing, taking pain killers.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have played but there was not really anyone else so sometimes you’ve got to do that. Maybe I’m paying the price for it now.
“It’s wear and tear on the knee but it’s really impacting on me now – it’s even hard to walk up and down stairs.
“When I saw the specialist he recommended an injection might repair it and, a couple of weeks after that, I should be okay. But it’s going through the NHS and it’s taking time.”
In the meantime Sullivan is trying to keep his fitness as much as possible. “I go to training but there’s not much I can do. I just do what I can,” he said.
“Hopefully it will be better for the long term. I hope to come back feeling fresh and that might be a good thing for the team.”
As for personal aims this season, he added: “I’m just happy to play. When you’re young you want to be known as the first-choice prop.
“Now I’m not too bothered by that. I’m just happy to be part of the team and to be in that environment, going to training and playing rugby league with your mates.
“When you know you’re going to finish, you appreciate it more.”
Sullivan seems pretty adamant that not even a good season would see him postpone retirement.
He added: “I don’t think I’ll have second thoughts. I’m pretty set in my mind.”