TONY GRIMALDI: MY CAREER IS OVER
THURSDAY, 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2006
My Career is Over
The Daily Telegraph
THE Bulldogs have been rocked by the sudden retirement of hooker Tony Grimaldi.
Grimaldi, 31, was told this week by medical specialists he could not play rugby league again because of a bulging disc in his neck.
He had only recently signed a new one-year contract for the 2007 season.
News that Grimaldi's career is over comes as a cruel blow for the Bulldogs, who rest this week before playing the grand final qualifier.
Grimaldi last night told The Daily Telegraph of his heartbreak at having to quit the game he has played for the past 12 years.
"That's it," he said.
"It could have been a better way to go out.
"But I still feel part of it.
"I'm still part of the team and go to training and help out when I can.
"I get nervous watching the games but a premiership win will cheer me up."
Grimaldi is saying he is out for the season and will not officially retire until after the Bulldogs final match this season.
He has previously had his vertebrae fused.
This current injury came during a round 24 match against Brisbane.
"The problem is I have had neck trouble before," Grimaldi said.
"They told me before that the next time it could be permanent.
"I suppose in one way the decision was taken out of my hands - that makes it a bit easier."
Grimaldi said the neck injury had given him excruciating arm pain.
"The first two weeks after the Brisbane game my arm was aching 24 hours a day," he said.
"At that stage I wasn't worried about football - I just wanted to get back to having a normal life.
"At the moment I'm out for the year.
"I will retire hopefully on grand final day.
"I suppose I was the most depressed when I unpacked my bag. It had sat in the garage for a while after the (Broncos) game.
"But when I took it out and my boots and mouth guards I knew it was the end.
"But I'm getting old and have had a good run."
Grimaldi had been the regular Bulldogs hooker this season until he sustained the injury.
Corey Hughes has since been starting at hooker with Adam Perry coming off the bench.
Bulldogs chief executive Malcolm Noad last night said his club was saddened to lose Grimaldi.
"He averages over 40 tackles a game. He also provides inspiration and semi-final experience.
"Tony is a tremendous club man who has respect from the players and is a player everyone listens to.
"He will still contribute in a big way for us through the finals."
Grimaldi played 121 first grade games, 120 with the Bulldogs, the other with St George.
He played in two grand finals - the 1998 loss to Brisbane and the 2004 win over the Roosters.
Grimaldi won seven of the nine finals matches he played.