Footy star announces shock retirement after health scare
Bulldogs winger Malakai Watene-Zelezniak has announced his shock retirement from rugby league, following a recent health scare.
The former Panthers and Tigers player moved from Penrith to the Bulldogs in the hope of gaining a contract with his brother Dallin's club.
But a tragic diagnosis of kidney failure in the lead-up to Christmas has ended his career.
Watene-Zelezniak took to Instagram on Thursday evening to make his announcement and thanked his family and teammates for their support.
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"Where to begin...after a lot of thinking I have decided to hang the boots up," he said.
"I got to fulfil a long life dream of mine to play in the NRL and to do it with my little bro will always be something special. I debuted alongside my bro when it all started and I will retire next to him, I couldn't think of a better ending.
"I started training with Bulldogs before Christmas and wow what an awesome club and great squad. The week before Christmas I had a little health scare and was admitted to hospital for acute kidney failure.
"After 4 days of being in hospital the image of my kids crying as they left me each night worried, stuck with me and gave me a lot of time to think.
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"I went back to training as I wanted to focus on the season ahead but unfortunately it ended up with further complications again which made me realise that my health and family is more important which led to this decision.
"I'm so grateful that the watch business is so successful that I can fall back on and transition into it full-time. I'm excited for the next chapter of my life and can't wait to finally give it my full focus.
"I want to thank all the teammates and brothers I have met along the way, you have influenced and shaped a part of who I am today and I'll always be thankful for it."
The 29-year old played 31 NRL games for the Panthers and the Tigers since his debut in 2017.
Originally published as Former Panthers and Tigers star announces shock retirement after health scare