No matter what Dene Halatau has achieved throughout his 14 years in the NRL, he has never been a player that blows his own horn.

Sure, Halatau has won a premiership and World Cup with New Zealand - but he prefers to be humble and hardworking in his approach.

So it was only fitting the veteran utility was at his understated best on Monday when he announced he will retire at season's end.

No fanfare or fuss, just appreciation to have played at the top level for over a decade.


"I didn't really expect to play 50 games, let alone a couple of 100 - so I'm just thankful," Halatau told The Daily Telegraph.

"To be honest I've always been realistic about where I sit as a player.

"I know I'm not a superstar. I get my job done, I fill a role in the team and I'm comfortable with that.

"Winning a premiership was pretty amazing and also representing New Zealand has been two of the bigger highlights.

"But it has been just as good being around good people and making lifelong friends. It's a great game and it has been awesome to be a part of it.

"It's very rewarding and I'm grateful, but mentally and physically I'm nearly at the point where I don't want to just be hanging in there to earn a pay check.

"I want to be playing football and feel like I'm enjoying it and at the top of my game.

"So right now I feel it's a good time for myself to take that next step."

Humility aside, there's no doubting Halatau has made a significant impact on our game.
Just ask Chris Lawrence - a player who has learnt plenty from the New Zealand-born hooker's professionalism over the years.

"Dene is a very quiet and humble guy that takes everything in his stride, but he comes in every day and just does whatever is asked of him," Lawrence said.

"Whether that's playing in different position or helping out younger guys, he just does it.

"His enthusiasm to turn up day-in and day-out is definitely something I picked up as a young guy coming through.

"He is what I think every young footy player should aspire to be like.

"I just hope he isn't lost to the game, because he is such a good mentor and role model."

Thankfully, Halatau wants to remain involved in the game moving forward.

He has already started talks with the Tigers about an off-field role, while he is keen to continue his welfare and education work at the NRL.

"I'll be looking to build on that," he said.

"I've loved being in the NRL playing for the Tigers and at the Bulldogs as well and now I want to repay some of the good things that have happened to me."

Before hanging up the boots though, Halatau is fully focused on helping the Tigers make the finals.

It's a challenge starting with a must-win clash against St George Illawarra at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

Halatau can't wait to take on the Dragons and his former premiership-winning Tigers teammate Benji Marshall in his 250th NRL game.

"I'm pretty excited for Benji," he said.

"Robbie (Farah), Chris Heighington and myself all debuted together in the same year, so it's great we are having milestones.

"I don't want to rain on his parade and I'm stocked for him, but hopefully we beat them.
"But I'll definitely congratulate him on what he has achieved."

Halatau may be hanging up the boots, but he believes the Tigers will succeed in his absence.

"I think we are in a really good place," he enthused.

"All the young boys are showing a lot of maturity in the way they prepare for games.

"I think our young halves have grown up a lot this year and have become leaders in the team.

"It's pretty well known what Teddy (Tedesco) does. He is a superstar already and it puts the club in a good position moving forward."

In other news, Robbie Farah is favoured to continue his role off the bench against the Dragons on Sunday.