Luke Keary in bombshell retirement development at Roosters as NRL rocked by sad news

Keary's bombshell comes after he signed a one-year extension this year to keep playing in 2025.

Sydney Roosters veteran Luke Keary has confirmed that he will retire from the NRL at the end of the 2024 season in news that has left the league world in shock on Monday. Keary signed a one-year extension in February to remain at the Tri Colours in 2025 but it's understood he had a change of heart after discussions with his friends and family.

The three-time premiership winner has had a history of head knocks and concussions and revealed when he signed his extension in February that he was originally planning on hanging up the boots at the end of the 2024 season. That will now be the case for the 32-year-old, who reportedly informed teammates of his decision on Monday, following the Roosters' thumping 60-18 win over the Dragons on Anzac Day.

Luke Keary's retirement news at the Roosters has left the NRL world in shock. Pic: Getty
Luke Keary's retirement news at the Roosters has left the NRL world in shock. Pic: Getty

"After 12 seasons and 27 years playing the game I love, I have decided this will be my last and that I will be retiring at the end of the year. It's a decision I have had thought long and hard about and I know it's the right one for me and my family," Keary said on Monday. "Rugby league has been a huge part of my life, and I'm proud of the career I've had. Rugby league is the ultimate team sport, and I wouldn't be here today without my teammates, coaches, support staff, family, friends and mentors."

Keary paid tribute to both former South Sydney coach Michael Maguire, as well as current Roosters mentor Trent Robinson. "(To) my two head coaches. Madge (Michael Maguire), you gave me first shot and I'll be forever grateful to you. You took me in as a kid and taught me how to be a first grader," Keary said. The lessons and toughness you ingrained in me have stayed with me my whole career.

"To Robbo (Trent Robinson), I feel so privileged to have had the chance to play under you. From the day I got the Roosters it felt like home for me, you've been a mentor and mate for eight years. We've enjoyed success and hardship and I couldn't have asked for a better coach through the whole journey. From me and my family, I want to say thank you for the opportunity you have given me to become the best player I could be over the last eight years.

Reports from News Corp and The Sydney Morning Herald suggest that Keary was convinced by family and friends to call it a day at the end of this season. The decision means the veteran playmaker will forfeit the final year of his lucrative contract with the Roosters in 2025, which is reportedly worth around $800,000.

Keary has played more than 200 games in the NRL after making his first grade debut for South Sydney in 2013 and winning a premiership with the Rabbitohs the following season. He then made the switch to arch-rivals the Roosters in 2017 and was an integral part of the back-to-back premiership triumphs for the Tri Colours in 2018 and 2019 - striking up a brilliant halves combination with Cooper Cronk and winning the Clive Churchill Medal as the standout player in the 2018 grand final.

The crafty playmaker featured in one Origin game for New South Wales in 2020 and two Tests for the Kangaroos but injuries limited his chances on the representative arena. Keary's injuries have included a broken jaw and ACL injury that saw him miss most of the 2021 season, plus a series of brutal head knocks.

Luke Keary hoists the NRL trophy aloft after the Roosters' win in the 2018 premiership. Pic: Getty
Luke Keary hoists the NRL trophy aloft after the Roosters' win in the 2018 premiership. Pic: Getty

Keary was regarded as a shoo-in to play Origin for the Blues in 2019 but saw his chances cruelled by a concussion that ruled him out of action for six weeks. Despite his history of head knocks, it's understood that is not the reason why Keary has decided to hang up the boots after this season, with the 32-year-old said to be keen on moving onto the next chapter of his career. The news has nevertheless rocked the NRL world.

Keary will bow out as a legend of the Roosters, with the club set to confirm his retirement via a statement within the next 48 hours. The 32-year-old is reportedly not interested in the fanfare that typically comes with the retirement of a player of Keary's stature, but his imminent exit continues a huge shake-up at the Roosters.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has already confirmed that this season will be his 16th and final one in the NRL, with the veteran prop set to finish his career in England's Super League. Fellow Roosters stars Joseph Suaalii and Joey Manu will also leave the club at year's end, with both signed to rugby union sides for 2025. Angus Crichton is expected to follow them out the door, reportedly also set to defect to the 15-a-side game.