Farewell to Dragons’ loyal servants

Yesterday was a big day for rugby league.

The code announced a monster $1 billion-plus TV rights deal, and former Kangaroos star Laurie Daley was anointed coach of the NSW Blues.

At home here in the Illawarra, one of the region’s favourite sons, Ben Hornby, quietly made an announcement of his own, revealing he would retire at the end of this season.

As one writer said, the St George Illawarra Dragons skipper did it the way he has always played the game, without fanfare and fuss.

The 207-game NRL veteran could have played on for another year but has unselfishly relinquished the hefty pay packet that would come with it.

Not big by NRL standards, Hornby was a thorough professional who made it to the top through dedication and sheer hard work.

To use a well-worn cliche, the boy from Corrimal Cougars who went on to make his way through the Steelers junior ranks, captain an NRL premiership side, play for the NSW Blues and Australia has been an ornament to the game.

While we’re handing out the accolades we should pay respects to Hornby’s team-mate, Dean Young, who will also hang up his boots at the end of the season.

Like Hornby he will leave the game with a premiership and NSW and Australian jumpers to his credit.

Both men have been loyal Dragons servants and will be remembered not only for their prowess on the field but for the work they have done behind the scenes.

They deserve a fitting farewell when the Dragons play their final home match of the season at WIN Stadium on Saturday.

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