Cronulla captain Paul Gallen plans to play on beyond his 37th birthday, confirming he has no intention to retire after the 2017 NRL season.
Gallen, who will turn 36 in August, is off contract at the end of the year and had previously said little about whether 2017 would be his last.
However, he revealed on Friday night he had already discussed playing on into next season with Cronulla, and he had full intentions of another year at the Sharks.
“I really do want to play next year,” he told the Triple M NRL radio program.
“I haven’t signed but I’ve spoken to the club – It’ll happen, I think.
“There’s no reason why I can’t keep playing. I’m still doing what I did two, three, four or five years ago.”
If he does play on, it will mark an incredible 18th consecutive NRL season since his 2001 debut.
Gallen retired from representative football last season – ending a six-year stint as NSW State of Origin captain – but had still played a huge role in the Sharks’ premiership defence in 2017.
He is averaging 170 metres per match, while making more than 30 tackles.
“I look at myself to other players in my position, what I’m doing, what I’m getting through on the field,” he said.
“There’s a lot of statistics these days in play-the-ball speed, wins and losses and tackle wins and losses. And I rate very highly in the side.
“They’re the very simple things I’m asked to do well in my position. As long as I keep doing them well, I can keep playing.”
Gallen’s announcement comes just a month after fellow Sharks veteran Luke Lewis’ confirmation of his intention to stay on next year – also for an 18th-straight year in the NRL.