Family talked Luke out of NRL retirement

Matt Encarnacion
Issac Luke will continue his NRL career in 2020 with St George Illawarra

St George Illawarra signing Issac Luke has revealed how his family was responsible for talking him out of retiring from the NRL.

Luke began the 14th pre-season of his career this week after moving across the Tasman from the Warriors, where he thought his career might have finished.

"It got to the point halfway during the year where I was content with what I'd done in the game and I was thinking about retiring," Luke said on Tuesday.

"But my kids are massive fans and my wife was like, 'Nah, you got a couple more years in you'. She (even) started training me.

"She just said, 'You go on your own terms. Don't retire just for the sake of retiring', which is different from her because I don't really speak to her about serious stuff."

Helping the veteran hooker in his transition to the Dragons is a familiar face in Cameron McInnes.

Luke mentored McInnes in the 25-year-old's rookie season at South Sydney in 2014, when he played seven games on the way to their drought-breaking premiership.

McInnes was instrumental in luring Luke from the Warriors.

"Even last year he was messaging me, saying what's my plans because I was off-contract and he said, 'It'd be good if we could play together'," Luke said.

Now, with McInnes favoured to take over the captaincy from the departed Gareth Widdop, it'll be the master taking orders from the apprentice.

McInnes is tipped to start at hooker before shifting to lock when Luke is on the field.

"I'm happy to play anywhere," Luke said.

"If there's anything I can help him with - not that I can do much with the captain -but in an experience sense, I think I can help him out a bit."

Luke, 32, also hasn't given up on a Kiwis return under his former Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire, as well as joining the rare 300-game club.

He's on 271 NRL matches across his stints at Souths and the Warriors.

"Once I got to the end of this season, I'm only like 30 games from 300. So I mean, I'll try and get there," he said.

"It's only 25 games this year, so I still have to play another year.

"The goal's to try and find some form before I finish."