Shaun Berrigan of the Canberra Raiders.
Shaun Berrigan of the Canberra Raiders. Mark Nolan / Getty Images

Family comess first for retiring star Berrigan

RAIDERS hooker Shaun Berrigan would love to play on next season.

But the 34-year-old has announced he will hang up his boots, not because age has caught up with him, but for family reasons.

"I won't be going around next year because my daughter has autism and we'll need to send her to a special school for that," the former Queensland and Kangaroos representative said.

"Those schools cost a lot of money, so I'm hoping to get a job up in the mines somewhere. I need to be close to her and my family on the Gold Coast."

Berrigan has been a first-grader since 1998 at the Broncos - he's played with tough, old-school footballers, and today's gifted Generation X athletes.

There are plenty of those young stars at Canberra, with Anthony Milford, Reece Robinson, Blake Ferguson, Jarrod Croker and Sandor Earl coming to mind.

Berrigan said he had enjoyed being a mentor to them since joining the club at the start of the 2012 season.

"I've really enjoyed playing with the young players down here - we're a tight-knit club and everyone gets along," he said.

He said that included Ferguson, denying some media reports that the State of Origin winger's off-field incidents had divided the club.

"People have their different opinions, but I'm not sure where the talk came from that Blake divided the club," he said.

"Blake's made some mistakes like many other kids his age, but we want him back playing because that's where he feels most comfortable."

Berrigan, who came off the bench in Sunday's horror 68-4 loss to the Storm, snapping the club's 12-match winning streak at Canberra Stadium, said he was confident that result was an abberation and the club could still make the finals despite a tough draw.

The Raiders take on the Roosters, Bulldogs, Sea Eagles, Warriors and Sharks in the final five rounds.

"We usually seem to play better against the good teams - I think it's just a case of our young guys getting excited by the atmosphere of the big games," Berrigan said.

"Just look at a guy like Josh Papalii - he's still only 21 and has already played Origin for Queensland."



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