Manly Sea Eagles captain Ben Kennedy today announced he had made himself available for selection for the Anzac Test Match in Brisbane on May 5. Kennedy also officially informed the Sea Eagles that the 2006 season would be his last. The powerhouse forward said he had thought long and hard about both decisions.
"It wasn't easy because I love the game and will miss it but I don't want to be a player who has gone one season too long. Playing for my country remains close to my heart and I have made myself available to play if chosen.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â
"Coach Ricky Stuart had a lot to do with my early career in the game and it would be wonderful to play my last Test match alongside Andrew Johns. "And there is the nightmare of that heavy defeat at the hands of the Kiwis last year to try and set right," Kennedy said.
Kennedy says he wants to end his career on a high and has set his sights on a premiership at the end of the season.
"We can mix it with the best teams - our form against the Cowboys and the Dragons proves that and I want to give it my best shot.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â "Hopefully my decision now will make it easier for Manly to look around at what they want to do next season.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â "While I love the heat of the battle on match days it has become increasingly harder to get myself up for training," Kennedy said.
Manly coach Des Hasler said he understood the reasons behind Kennedy's decision. "He said when he came he would give us two seasons of everything he had and he continues to do that," Hasler said.
Manly CEO Pat Wilson said the club appreciated Kennedy's early decision. "We would have given Ben as long as he wanted to make up his mind but he said he would tell us after six rounds and he has done that. "He is such an inspirational player and leader but he is with us for the 2006 season and that is something the supporters will enjoy in each match he plays, " Wilson said.
Kennedy issued an apology to the media today for not being available for personal interviews.
"I promised my wife Emma and the kids that I would spend a day with them away from football and I am trying to do that," He said.