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NRL star Boyd Cordner goes shopping after shock retirement over ‘disturbing’ concussion problems


NRL great Boyd Cordner has been spotted enjoying life after footy – just a day after announcing his immediate retirement from the sport on Monday due to ‘disturbing’ ongoing concussion problems.

Cordner, 29, was photographed out shopping for groceries at Randwick in Sydney’s east on Tuesday, as he prepares for the next stage of his life.

The three-time premiership winner with the Sydney Roosters and NSW Blues State of Origin stalwart was regarded as one of the toughest players in the modern game, but a number of serious concussions effectively forced Cordner’s hand.

Fellow retired footy warrior Paul Gallen, who has turned his attention to boxing after hanging up his playing boots, revealed a conversation he had with his manager David Riolo after rooming with Cordner during Australia’s 2013 World Cup campaign in London.

Retired Sydney Roosters captain Boyd Cordner (pictured) was spotted picking up some groceries in Randwick on Tuesday

Retired Sydney Roosters captain Boyd Cordner (pictured) was spotted picking up some groceries in Randwick on Tuesday

Cordner has been forced to retire from the NRL aged 29 due to ongoing concussion fears

Cordner has been forced to retire from the NRL aged 29 due to ongoing concussion fears

‘We have the same manager, Dave Riolo. I remember talking to Dave and saying, ‘Mate, the way this bloke (Cordner) plays, I don’t know if he’ll last past he’s 25′,’ Gallen said on Channel Nine’s 100% Footy on Monday night.

‘I have never seen a player put his body on the line week in and week out like he did. It was just unbelievable what he put his body through.’

Gallen went onto to state Cordner overcame a number of serious injuries including broken jaws, knee reconstructions and shoulder reconstructions early in his career. 

He was also renowned for playing tough or injured, with ‘no self-preservation’ whatsoever. 

In a glittering career, Cordner played 181 NRL games with the Sydney Roosters, 16 State of Origin matches with NSW and 20 Tests for Australia.

Parramatta Eels legend turned respected media commentator Peter Sterling labelled Cordner’s retirement news ‘disturbing.’

Like countless footy fans, Sterling expected to see Cordner return to the playing field this season. He felt the backrower ‘still had plenty to offer’, but said the decision was a smart one.

‘You have got to err on the side of caution and your health is your most important thing,’ Sterling said.

‘When you retire from this game, you want to be the person making the decision, not the medical people.’

Cordner, the Tricolours skipper wiped away tears at a press conference on Monday morning as he announced he has played his last professional game.

‘The past six months or so has been a really challenging time in my life in regards to my head knock and my health,’ he said. 

‘All I ever wanted to do was to get back and play the game I love and, most importantly, for the club that I love.’

Cordner signed with the Roosters at just 16 from Taree on the NSW mid-north coast and had two years left on his current NRL contract.

He has not played a game this season since copping a head knock in November’s State of Origin series opener – the last in a long series of concussions.  

At his press conference where he announced his retirement from footy, NRL star Boyd Cordner thanked his partner Jemma Barge for her support

At his press conference where he announced his retirement from footy, NRL star Boyd Cordner thanked his partner Jemma Barge for her support

Cordner said he 'wouldn't be the man I am today without the Roosters and rugby league' in his retirement announcement

Cordner said he ‘wouldn’t be the man I am today without the Roosters and rugby league’ in his retirement announcement 

Boyd Cordner signed for the Roosters aged 16 and went onto win three NRL premierships

Boyd Cordner signed for the Roosters aged 16 and went onto win three NRL premierships

Rugby league figureheads have become increasingly aware of the long-term effects of concussions and head knocks for players – and as a result have introduced harsher penalties in 2021 for those who make forceful contact with the head during matches.

Studies show that repeated head knocks greatly increase the chance of players suffering Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in retirement, with sometimes severe physical and mental impacts for the remainder of their lives.

Fellow Sydney Roosters star Jake Friend also announced his immediate retirement this year due to concussion concerns. 

During his emotional press conference, Cordner said it had been a difficult decision to retire from the game.

‘I had to put my health and my happiness first and it was an extremely tough decision for me to make,’ he said.

‘As hard as it’s going to be, because I feel like I’ve got a lot more left to give to the game, and to this club especially, I can look back and I’ll take peace of what I’ve done in the game and the career that I’ve had at this club.’

Cordner also reflected on his time playing in the NRL and representing the Sydney Roosters.

‘I was a 16-year-old kid when I moved down to join the Roosters and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d get to be a part of so many amazing moments,’ he said.

‘I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the Roosters and rugby league.

Decorated Sydney Roosters captain Boyd Cordner announced his retirement from rugby league on Monday

Decorated Sydney Roosters captain Boyd Cordner announced his retirement from rugby league on Monday

Boyd Cordner was also a key figure for NSW and Australia in what was a glittering career

Boyd Cordner was also a key figure for NSW and Australia in what was a glittering career

‘So many people have played an important role in helping me in my career throughout the years, and I just want to say thanks to them all, right back to my junior club, the Old Bar Pirates.’

One of the most durable players in the game, Cordner won NRL titles with the Roosters in 2013, 2018 and 2019.

He also led NSW to Origin series victories in 2018 and 2019, and was appointed Kangaroos Test captain three years ago.

‘I’m so proud to be able to do this at such a great club like the Roosters,’ he said. ‘It’s been home, it is home for me, it has been home for me for the best part of nearly half my life now.’

‘I love this place. I love the people in it. And that’s what they saw – it’s the people in it that make it a home.’

The 29-year-old said he had gone from a ‘boy to a man’ playing for the Sydney Roosters and publicly thanked coach Trent Robinson and his teammates.

Roosters captain Boyd Cordner and coach Trent Robinson celebrate after the 2019 NRL Grand Final win over Canberra

Roosters captain Boyd Cordner and coach Trent Robinson celebrate after the 2019 NRL Grand Final win over Canberra

‘Trent, I’m so fortunate to have been coached by you for pretty much my whole career,’ he said. ‘You made me a better player and a better man.’

‘To all my teammates over the years, there have been some special moments and I’m grateful to every single player I got to run out with over the years.

Cordner went on thank his family and partner Jemma Barge for their ongoing support throughout his illustrious career.

‘Most importantly, to my family, especially my partner Jemma and my dad Chris,’ he said.

‘You’ve always been there for me, been in my corner, and I’ll never be able to thank you enough for what you’ve done for me over the years.’ 

Robinson praised Cordner as one of the club’s finest captains.

‘Boyd is one of the greatest leaders of men I have seen,’ the Roosters coach said.

‘At any level of the game, I’m sure that every player who ever stood alongside Boyd would thank him for being the teammate and leader that he was.

‘Boyd is a man of conviction, and his achievements over the years, not only at club level, but also in the representative arena, reflect the highly-respected man that he is.’



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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