Wildcats forward Andy Raleigh has announced his retirement following a 12 year career in rugby league.
Raleigh, who has played the game since he was eight and experienced the sport from every level including student rugby, National League and Super League, has decided to hang up his boots.
Having played for Huddersfield Giants for the under 18 and under 21 teams, Andy studied Geography for three years at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. During his time in Newcastle, he played for the University Rugby League team and represented the North East, England and Great Britain students.
He was selected for the Great Britain students touring side which went to Australia and New Zealand in 2000 and played in Russia when representing England students in 2001. In his final year at University Andy received the Student Player of the Year Award.
Raleigh played semi-professionally at Sheffield Eagles for three seasons starting in 2002, playing 65 games. During his time at the Eagles, Andy was nominated for the National League Young Player of the year award and selected in the National league Dream Team, in addition to representing the National League Two against a New Zealand select team.
He moved to East Hull in 2004 to represent Hull KR in National League One for one season. There Raleigh scored 18 tries in 29 appearances, in addition to playing in the Northern Rail Cup winning side in the final at Blackpool. After a successful year in East Hull, he won the National League Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards.
Raleigh made his Super League debut playing for Huddersfield Giants, when he joined his home town club in 2005 and went on to play 133 games in six years with the Giants, achieving the Supporters’ Player of the Year, Squad Builder Man of Steel, Top Tackler, and Players’ Player of the Year Awards in 2008.
He moved to the Wildcats in 2012 on a two year contract. He enjoyed a successful first year at the Wildcats and was awarded the Players’ Player of the year and Coach’s Player of the Year Awards. He signed another one year contract at Wakefield in 2013 taking him into his twelfth year of professional rugby.
During his career Raleigh has played in every round of the Challenge Cup and has been awarded the Players’ Player accolade at every club he has represented.
Raleigh has made 172 Super League appearances in all including 57 for the Wildcats.
He said: “It has been a dream come true to be able to play the sport that I love for a living. I’ve had some fantastic experiences from playing in Challenge Cup finals to making the play-offs, and met some great people along the way.
“I just felt that the time was right to hang up my boots after 12 great years – as I’m not getting any younger!
“I’ve been extremely lucky, and very grateful, to have a very supportive family, without which I probably wouldn’t have pursued a career in professional rugby. I’d also like to thank the fans for their support, especially those that have supported my testimonial events, I really appreciate it.”
A draw will take place at Sunday’s game with Huddersfield Giants in aid of Raleigh’s testimonial. Tickets will be on sale for £1 at the Stadium with the draw taking place at half-time. The list of prizes is as below:
1. Directors Box Tickets for Giants v Wildcats at The John Smith’s Stadium in regular 2015 season.
2. Two hospitality tickets for Wildcats v Giants at the Legends Suite inc 4 course meal and seating in the Main Stand in the regular 2015 season.
3. A signed Huddersfield Giants shirt 2014 season.
4. A signed Andy Raleigh Testimonial shirt
5. Two Championship tickets Huddersfield Town v Middlesbrough, Saturday, September 15 2014.