VETERAN Cronulla forward Luke Lewis has ruled out hanging up the boots at the end of the 2017 NRL season.
The 33-year-old is now in his 17th season, but is off contract at the end of the year.
The 2016 Clive Churchill medallist originally had not planned to make a decision on his future until June, but the 291-game player has revealed he recently sat down with his wife Sonia to confirm this year wouldn’t be his last.
“I’m definitely not going to retire,” Lewis said.
“I don’t think I’ll go overseas to be brutally honest. That’s where my head is at the moment.
“I want to be playing in the NRL — that’s the best competition. I’m very fortunate to be playing in the game for a while.”
Lewis’ decision leaves him with two options — to either re-sign with the Sharks or head to a third NRL club.
And he’s hoping it will be the former.
The winger-turned-backrower is one of a cavalcade of Cronulla players yet to be sure of their future in 2018.
Paul Gallen and Chris Heighington are weighing up their lives post-football, while fellow premiership heroes Chad Townsend, Gerard Beale and Sam Tagataese are also off contract.
The Sharks have been hit by the loss of Jack Bird to Brisbane last week, but have managed to re-sign Valentine Holmes, Matt Prior, Wade Graham and Sosaia Feki.
But with the salary cap squeeze threatening to hurt the club following their maiden title win, Lewis has no issue with being further down the club’s pecking order.
“I’m not too stressed about that,” he said.
“It’s only early days and I don’t want to get caught up in talking about my contract.
“I haven’t talked to anyone or put it out there.
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“I know there are a lot of other guys who are more important than getting myself signed.”
The two-time premiership winner has played 16 Tests for Australia and 17 State of Origin matches for NSW, but still showed against Penrith he would be of plenty of value to rival NRL clubs if Cronulla opted not to re-sign him.
He had his best game of the year in Sunday’s 28-2 win, setting up a try and busting through three tackles as he topped 100 running metres for the first time this year.
“I’ve got a real clear focus,” Lewis said.
“When you’re a bit younger you look for a bit more work to go around and try and do those extra things that are more creative.”
Originally published as Veteran Shark vows to stay in the NRL
SOURCE: newsnow sport