After 35 years spent devoted to the greatest game of all, Noel Cleal has announced his retirement from rugby league, effective immediately.

Cleal, affectionately known as 'Crusher', played 128 of his 198 ARL games for Manly between 1983 and 1989 following a three-year stint with the Roosters to kickstart his career.

He hoisted the premiership trophy in a Sea Eagles jersey in 1987, coached by the late great Bob Fulton.

A Kangaroo and New South Welshman in his playing days, the 64-year-old eventually graduated to management and has spent time with Canterbury and New Zealand, as well as his beloved Sea Eagles.

Manly CEO Tony Mestrov is sad to see the club icon leave, instead reflecting on his incredible accomplishments.

"I know how proud and honoured Noel is to have been able to spend 20 of those seasons at Manly, having made the finals campaign on 17 occasions as a player and manager,'' Mestrov told Manly's website.

"The ones that standout for him are the 1987 premiership as a player, captaining the Sea Eagles in 1986, and working closely with Des Hasler to win the 2008 and 2011 NRL premierships.

"From a personal view, a highlight for Noel was being able to play with his brother Les on the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1982.

"As for his record in representative football, he was honoured to play for City, Country, NSW and Australia.

Noel Cleal

"His career also saw him play bush footy for five years, winning three premierships, and a stint in England as a player and then as a coach, winning a premiership in 1992 with Hull.

"Noel is now looking forward to settling on the mid-North Coast and spending time with his wife, Michelle.

"Having spent endless hours watching NRL, lower grades, junior reps, schoolboy carnivals and bush footy, Noel is also going to spend time with his grandchildren, Cooper, Nash, and Sonny watching their sporting achievements.

"The Sea Eagles sincerely thank Noel for all he has done for our club and congratulate him on a wonderful career. We wish him good luck in the future."