Bradley calls time on representative rugby
Inspirational Morrinsville Sports club rugby player and Ranfurly Shieldwinning Waikato NPC captain Alex Bradley has retired from representative rugby.
Bradley, who is not playing at any level this year but may return to club rugby at some level next season, has cited a number of reasons for his decision to step away from the game at 31.
Though the big No 8’ s family and his Matamata plumbing business were key reasons, with his wife and family as well as his business partner having made a lot of sacrifices in recent years, he said he had also lost some of the hunger to make the commitment to another year of training and the travel required to do it.
‘‘The boys are into training now before and after work. I’ve done that for a long time now and travelling from Matamata means getting up early, not seeing the family, getting over there in the mornings and having to get back for work and then getting back over there in the afternoons for training,’’ he said.
‘‘I was doubting whether I was up to it and I could sort of sense if I was doing it I wouldn’t be putting 100 per cent into it.’’
His body was also telling him it needed a break with ‘‘a couple of crook knees and a hip that’s giving me a bit of grief’’ so he felt a year off from all rugby would do him some good.
‘‘ I’m at the top of my game and I’m not going to go any further.
‘‘The Chiefs didn’t want me for another season so that sort of helped the decision as well.’’
Bradley also feels he is going out on a high note after a season most players would dream of – a member of the Chiefs who won the Super Rugby title for the first time, then captaining Waikato to wrest the Ranfurly Shield off Taranaki and successfully defend it.
‘‘My wife wanted me to keep playing and I’ve still got rugby left in me but I just felt I was ready for a change and needed to put time into my business and my family.’’
The 1.89m 117kg Bradley was born and educated in Morrinsville and has played most of his club football for the Morrinsville Sports Club.
These days he lives in Matamata and he would be likely to join a Matamata club if he returns to club rugby next year.
‘‘I think I’ll just get away from travelling altogether but I guess ... if I felt like I was still up to it and got back into it next season and got fit enough, perhaps I could say to [Waikato coach Chris Gibbes] I’m available.
‘‘But at this stage I just want to have a year off and spend time with the kids, follow their sport and maybe get into a bit of coaching with them.’’
Bradley said he was already revelling in having the time to spend weekends with his family, and more time during the week at work, and sharing the load with his wife in terms of picking up children from school and cooking meals.
Retired: Alex Bradley with the Ranfurly Shield in 2012.