Luke Keary in telling admission about NRL retirement amid Blues Origin development

The in-form Roosters playmaker has rocketed into State of Origin calculations.

Veteran Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary has spoken publicly for the first time since announcing his NRL retirement, denying that a history of concussions factored into his decision. Keary has rocketed into State of Origin calculations for the injury-ravaged Blues after a superb season for the Roosters, who've won three straight games to jump into fifth on the ladder.

The three-time premiership winner and Clive Churchill Medallist announced after his side's Anzac Day flogging of the Dragons last month that this would be his final season in the NRL. The 32-year-old made the surprise call despite originally signing a one-year extension to keep him at the Roosters in 2025, with suggestions his backflip was due to his history of head knocks.

Seen here, Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary in the NRL.
Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary says his history of concussions were not behind his NRL retirement decision. Pic: Getty

Keary suffered his most recent concussion in the round two defeat to Manly this season, but speaking publicly for the first time since making his retirement announcement, the playmaker dispelled any notion that his history of head knocks played a part in his decision to call time on his NRL career. "That's definitely not it. Honestly it wasn't even one of the reasons or factors that came into it," Keary told reporters on Wednesday.

"But I know in myself the reasons why and things like that. That definitely wasn't one of them," he added, admitting the speculation around his health left him a little frustrated. "And if it was, I wouldn't be playing today either. I don't think you can play in the NRL with that in your mind.

"I wouldn't have played (last weekend) if that was one of the reasons. I would have pulled the pin earlier." Keary opened up on his retirement call in a lengthy video message that was published on the Roosters' website last week. The classy five-eighth said it felt like the right time to end his career.


Roosters teammates Joey Manu, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Joseph Suaalii are all set to leave the NRL at the end of this season as well, and Keary says the raft departures at the club gives the team added motivation to win a premiership in 2024. "We're always trying to try to be the best we can be. But obviously, there's a fair few of us moving on," he said.

"So we know it's like our last little bit together. Especially like Jared, Joey, myself, we all played a long time together. We're literally just trying to enjoy these moments as much as possible. Trying to play as good footy as we can and finish off in style. We don't talk about it as a motivation. But I dare say there's a few of us who really just want to enjoy it. And to enjoy it you've got to play good footy."

Keary's form in 2024 has seen calls for the Roosters playmaker to make his long-awaited return to the Origin arena after his one and only game for the Blues in 2020. NSW coach Michael Maguire is facing a halves crisis ahead of the series opener against the Maroons in Sydney on June 5, with Nathan Cleary and veteran halfback Adam Reynolds ruled out, Mitchell Moses still not back from injury and the likes of Jarome Luai and Cody Walker struggling to stamp their mark on games this season.

Luke Keary's form has seen him thrown up as a possible Origin candidate for the Blues, who will be without injured Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary. Pic: Getty
Luke Keary's form has seen him thrown up as a possible Origin candidate for the Blues, who will be without injured Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary. Pic: Getty

Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes and Bulldogs No.6 Matt Burton have been in excellent form for their respective sides and are arguably the frontrunners to be picked as Maguire's Blues halves. But incumbent Blues captain James Tedesco has already thrown his backing behind Keary and says he's confident the veteran playmaker would do a job if selected for NSW.

Keary's left-edge combination with Roosters teammate Angus Crichton - who is considered by many to be a certainty in the Blues side - is also a factor that could work in the five-eighth's favour. But Keary appeared genuinely shocked when asked about his chances of playing for NSW. "I don't know," he said before adding: "I honestly haven't even thought about it".