Eels forward set for early retirement after series of concussions

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Parramatta forward Andrew Davey could be medically retired from the NRL after a series of concussions in 2023.

In the same week Davey created headlines for an attack against former club Canterbury and their coach Cameron Ciraldo, the Eels back-rower’s time in the game appears close to ending.

The Eels are in discussions with the 31-year-old about premature retirement after several concussions. The club declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.

Davey is contracted until the end of next season but is understood to be resigned to the fact his NRL career is likely over and will put his long-term health first when making his decision. The Eels have made the NRL aware of Davey’s predicament.

Davey was knocked out against the Rabbitohs earlier in the year. The most recent concussion against the Broncos in round 24, attempting to tackle prop Keenan Palasia from the kick-off, resulted in him being helped from the field in a 54-10 shellacking.

Davey, whose contract is partially being paid by the Bulldogs, did not return for the club’s final two games of the season as a result of the heavy collision at the Gabba.

Eels forward Andrew Davey braces for contact against the Cowboys earlier in the year.Credit: Getty

Davey has played 44 games across five seasons in the NRL spanning three clubs (Eels, Manly Sea Eagles and Bulldogs).

His pending retirement comes on the back of the decision from Josh Hodgson (neck injury) to finish his time in the sport with one year remaining on his contract.

Hodgson’s final year at the club, like Davey, could be wiped from the salary cap next year if the NRL deems his neck injury career-ending.

The NRL will also have to decide whether the same dispensation will be afforded to the Eels when it comes to the concussions surrounding Davey.

Canterbury Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo.Credit: Kate Geraghty

Davey was in the headlines this week after launching an attack against his old club Canterbury, who released him during the year to link up with the Eels after falling out of favour.

“The way the Bulldogs went about things, I didn’t like it,” Davey told News Corp newspapers during the week.

“It wasn’t a culture that I fitted in with and it wasn’t the style of coaching that I resonated with. Players had concerns, but they weren’t at panic stations. I had a couple of gripes, but I won’t go into specifics. We weren’t all pulling the same way.”

Davey was also critical of the coaching philosophies of Ciraldo.

“It wasn’t great with ­Cameron,” Davey said. “In the end, we didn’t talk when I was leaving. It was very cold. I didn’t get the ideology of the coaches. It wasn’t a process that I’d been ­accustomed to.

“I guess in every business there are ­people that don’t always get along. You’ve just got to go somewhere else where you’re happy. And that’s what I chose. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, and a lot different to what I’ve experienced at Manly and ­Parramatta.”

The Eels will now have a number of spots to fill in their roster next season and are looking to add depth in the back row and outside backs.

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