Hoffman calls times on decorated career
Ryan Hoffman has today announced he will call time on his illustrious NRL career.
The 34-year-old has made the decision to retire at season's end, bringing to an end one of the greatest careers in the purple jersey.
A member of the NRL 300-Club, Hoffman has played 319 NRL games across 16 seasons at the highest level. He has made 259 appearances for Melbourne, fifth most all time, boasting an incredible winning percentage of 67.5 per cent from those games.
Hoffman has built a reputation for being a big game player, having played in 22 Finals for Melbourne, including four Grand Finals and scoring tries in two of them.
Affectionately known as 'Hoffy', he holds a special place in purple hearts due to his selflessness, toughness and passion for the Storm jersey that has seen him become a lasting favourite in the eyes of Storm fans.
Hoffman made his first grade debut in Round 6, 2003 and within two years established himself in the second row of Craig Bellamy's team.
After one year playing for Wigan Warriors in the UK Super League, Hoffman returned to Melbourne in 2012 to play an integral part in the Club's Premiership triumph. The following year he was made a Melbourne Storm Life Member.
A further two further to seasons of rock solid performances the respected veteran was recruited by the New Zealand Warriors where he spent the last three years, captaining the Auckland-based side in 2016.
Melbourne has always been home for Hoffman and at the end of the 2017 season he and his family made the decision to return to Victoria to finish his career where it all began.
In his third stint at Storm, the veteran simply picked up where he left off, fitting straight back into his customary No.12 and missing just one game so far this season.
The champion expressed a sincere gratitude to everyone who has helped to make all his achievement possible over the years.
"I've been lucky to have lived out my boyhood dream and make a career out of rugby league for 16 years," Hoffman said.
"I feel have achieved everything I can in the game and while it was hard to say the words out loud for the first time, I'm very content with the decision. I haven't lost of the love for the game, however I knew my time as a player was finished and I know this is the right decision.
"While the success I've enjoyed as part of the teams I've played in have been great moments, for me the real highlight of my career has been the people I've met and the lifelong friends I've made.
"I'm very thankful to Melbourne Storm for giving me my first chance at and NRL club and for allowing me to explore the rugby league world with my time at Wigan and the Warriors.
"I'm also grateful to Wigan and Warriors for the time I spent at those clubs, as they were very important parts of my career. I would like to especially thanks Dave Donaghy, Frank Ponissi and Craig Bellamy in allowing me to finish my career as a Melbourne Storm player.
"A very special thank you must go to my wife Melissa and my children Zach and Mia. Melissa has sacrificed a lot in her life to be a supportive and loving partner to me. For someone who is extremely intelligent and a driven person, for her to sacrifice her job to be with our children at home is something I can never repay her for."
Though he may be retiring, Hoffman's connection to Melbourne Storm will remain with the veteran to commence a full-time, off field role with the Club from November.
Hoffman will take up a role in the Football administration department working closely with Football Director Frank Ponissi on specific projects.
"Few players are able to retire with a resume that even come close to what Ryan has been able to accomplish," Ponissi said.
"He is one of the greatest players to ever pull on the purple jersey and every time he has done so, he has represented our Club with distinction, class and passion.
"Ryan for a large part of his career has always shown an interest and passion in football administration and management as a potential career once his playing days came to an end.
"He has completed a Bachelor of Business while he has been playing and in the off-season will undertake further studies at Harvard University, so we have been greatly impressed with how well planned and prepared he is for the transition post playing career.
"From a Club perspective we are pleased to have someone who shows and demonstrates the Melbourne Storm values on a daily basis remain in our organisation."
- 353 career games
- Melbourne Storm 259 games (2003-2010, 2012-2014, 2018)
- New Zealand Warriors 60 games (2015-2017)
- Wigan Warriors 34 games (2011)
- Australian Tests - 6
- New South Wales representative - 14
- Fifth most games played in Melbourne Storm history
- 2x Melbourne Storm Forward of the Year (2006, 2012)
- Melbourne Storm Life Member (2013)
- Brad Fittler Medallist (2014)