Veteran Dean Young will retire from the Dragons at the end of the season. Retiring Dragons veteran Dean Young has vowed to push through the pain barrier for his two remaining NRL games and see out retirement on his own terms.
Young will start at lock for tomorrow’s clash against New Zealand – his last at WIN Stadium – and is confident he can recover in time for the round 26 finale against Parramatta the following week.
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The 28-year-old, who has been forced into early retirement because of a chronic knee injury, is eager to finish a stellar 207-game club career with two strong performances.
‘‘I had my knee drained on Sunday and it’s been pretty sore, but I’ll do my best to play and see how we go after that,’’ Young said.
Young was forced to sit out Monday night’s 32-22 loss to North Queensland, but the omission should allow him enough recovery for the run home.
Clashes against lowly Warriors and Parramatta are expected to fetch near-capacity crowds to farewell Young and teammate Ben Hornby, who called time on his career on Tuesday.
The Dragons were quietly buzzing yesterday over news the Parramatta clash had been moved to ANZ Stadium at Homebush.
‘‘The decision was out of our hands, being Parramatta’s home game, but the outcome is great for everyone involved,’’ Dragons chief executive Peter Doust said.
‘‘It now provides a lot more Dragons fans the opportunity to witness both Ben and Dean lead the club out one final time.
‘‘I am sure that Ben and Dean, as well as Luke [Burt] and Nathan [Hindmarsh], appreciate the gesture as all four men have been great ambassadors for the game.’’
Young was hopeful of a capacity crowd for his Wollongong send-off tomorrow afternoon – the same ground he debuted on back in 2003.
‘‘I think it would be nice to send us out with a big crowd,’’ Young said of the WIN Stadium farewell.
‘‘We’re both Wollongong boys and have grown up here. It’s our favourite ground and we love playing there.
‘‘It would be great to run out if it was full – that would be wonderful – even though the semis are out of reach.
‘‘I think the fans would have liked us to be in the finals, but you can’t fault the effort the team has put in this year. It’s just been our execution and a couple of other things that have let us down.’’
The two remaining games will take on extra significance for the rest of the Dragons’ players jostling for positions in next year’s side.
The club has refused to speculate on coach Steve Price’s captaincy options until Hornby sees out the season, and Young was indifferent when quizzed this week.
‘‘I’m sure that’s for the club to decide,’’ he said.
‘‘The coaching staff will look at that and make the right decision in due time. It’s all sort of happened and we thought Benny was playing on.
‘‘The staff and the senior players will get together and do a whole review of the season of what went right and what went wrong. I’m sure that will be in the discussions.’’
Tickets to the round 26 Dragons-Parramatta finale will go on sale from midday today.
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