Sharks forward Aiden Tolman has announced the 2022 season will be his last in the NRL.
Earlier this week Tolman made the decision to hang up the boots at the end of the 2022 season, before informing the Sharks playing group on Thursday morning, with his retirement to bring down the curtain on a celebrated 15-year NRL career.
“I feel like now is the perfect time to move in another direction and hopefully I can do that by giving back to the game that has given me so much,” Tolman said in addressing the media on Friday morning.
Originally from Hat Head near Lismore on the NSW North Coast and a highly touted junior, having played in the 2006 Australian Schoolboys team alongside the likes of Mitchell Pearce and Israel Folau, Tolman would debut in the NRL for the Storm in 2008 before going on to play 314 NRL games at Melbourne, the Bulldogs and now Sharks.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunities they’ve all given me, but here at the Sharks, we’ve still got a job to do. I’m not done yet for this season and whenever the last game comes, I’ll be able to sit down and reflect on my career and really appreciate and celebrate what I’ve achieved in this game and all the people who have helped me to get where I am, ”Tolman expressed.
“I’ve got six weeks to go and that’s where my focus is here at the moment.”
Current coach Craig Fitzgibbon also spoke highly of Tolman while explaining he hoped some of his traits would rub off on the young forwards set to take his place in the years to come.
“Toughness can manifest itself in different ways and how people are viewed in different ways to be tough, but with Tols he’s just incredibly consistent,” Fitzgibbon began. “He has the sort of character and attitude we want to instill in all the young players coming through here and they’ll be better for the experience of seeing what Aiden Tolman is all about.
“For his 300th game we had Craig Bellamy and Des Halser send him a quick video and they said exactly the same thing, the guy is at a level of consistency that’s really impressive to watch and for a first-year coach such as myself, I ‘m really thankful I had him as a part of the group, ”Fitzgibbon added.
Somewhat fittingly Tolman’s last regular season game at PointsBet Stadium will be against Canterbury, the club where he played 222 top grade matches and in two Grand Finals.
Following his 10-years at the Bulldogs, Tolman made the move to the Sharks where he has represented Cronulla in 39 games since joining the club in 2021.
One of just 45 players in history to have achieved the 300-game milestone, Tolman will move to 26th on the all-time list for most matches played when he runs out for game number 315 on Saturday night.
Sharks members and fans are invited and encouraged to bid a special farewell to Tolman, as well as Andrew Fifita who makes his final PointsBet Stadium appearance in Cronulla colors, at the game against the Bulldogs on Saturday. The pair are expected to make a final lap of honor following the game.