The North Queensland Cowboys’ 2017 plans have hit a snag, with veteran prop Ben Hannant reportedly set to retire due to an ongoing knee injury.
The 31-year-old former Test and Origin star recently signed a one-year extension with the club, but off-season surgery did not rectify the knee issue sufficiently and Hannant has informed Cowboys officials he will not be returning next season.
— Ben Dobbin (@MyMateDobbo) November 15, 2016
The news is a big blow to the Cowboys’ front-row stocks, which have already been decimated by representative prop James Tamou’s departure to Penrith.
With few quality front-rowers left on the market at this late stage, the club will most likely rely on promising tyros Patrick Kaufusi and Sam Hoare to fill the void, while NYC forward Corey Jensen has also re-signed. Stalwart Scott Bolton is firming as the favourite to start alongside co-captain Matt Scott.
— FOX SPORTS NRL (@FOXNRL) November 16, 2016
The burly Burleigh junior began his NRL career with eight games for the Roosters in 2005, before moving to Brisbane and sharing in the Broncos’ most recent grand final success 12 months later.
He made the first of 12 Origin appearances for Queensland in 2008 and made his Kangaroos debut the following season after picking up the Dally M Prop of the Year gong in his first year with the Bulldogs.
Hannant returned to the Broncos in 2011 for a four-season stay – representing Australia in his sixth and final Test in ’12 – and has provided outstanding value for the Cowboys in 52 games over the past two seasons, including becoming one of the select few to have won premierships with two clubs.
A true front-row warrior, the blonde-haired bookend finishes his career with 245 first-grade appearances – at an average of 21.5 games for the past 11 seasons.