New Zealand league legend Issac Luke has announced his retirement from rugby league after fulfilling a career envied by many.
The 34-year-old called time on his 14-year career on Tuesday morning with the Hawera-born forward finishing his career at Intrust Super Cup side the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
Reflecting on his successes over the course of his rugby life, Luke regretted not being able to capture some more personal accolades.
“If I was being picky, there are two things I wanted to achieve; get that milestone of 300 and go to the Dally M’s and bring something home,” the 34-year-old said to NZ Rugby League.
The Kiwi great appeared 287 times in the NRL, starting his career at South Sydney where he spent the best part of eight years with the side.
Despite giving so much to the club, Luke was suspended for the Rabbitohs' 2014 drought-breaking grand final win over a controversial dangerous tackle on Sonny Bill Williams in the preliminary final a week prior.
Although the personal disappointment was immense the hooker maintains the overarching factor was that the team were successful in the match.
“It was tough, definitely tough. People even say today, I can’t believe you missed out on the grand final. But we won, so I’m all good with that," Luke exclaimed.
Post-season 2015 saw him secure a move back over the ditch to play for the Warriors where he appeared 83 times from 2016-2019.
— NRL (@NRL) July 27, 2019
However, his major achievements came at international level with his beloved Kiwis where he was a part of the 2008 side that beat Australia in the World Cup final as well as winning the Four Nations in 2010 and 2014.
Over the course of his nine-year international career, Luke managed five tries and 22 goals and was a staple of the side.
Kiwis coach Michael Maguire reminisced on the 34-year-old's illustrious career.
“I was fortunate to coach Issac at both club and at international level. He was a player that loved playing for the Kiwis as he was a very proud New Zealander. He always represented his family and country with great passion and will retire as one of the greats to wear the Black & White," Maguire said.
“I will always remember Issac for his speed and deception around the ruck terrorising an opposition.”
The hooker played out the twilight years of his career at both the St George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Brisbane in 2020, only managing 15 appearances across his time at the two clubs.