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Digital Image by Anthony Johnson copyright © Kade Snowden : 2015 NRL Round 7 - Newcastle Knights vs Parramatta Eels at Hunter Stadium, Sunday April 19th 2015

Newcastle Knights forward Kade Snowden has medically retired from the game due to a neck injury.

Snowden played 174 NRL games and represented NSW and Australia over his 12-year career.

“It has been a tough year not being able to contribute to the team but my body just couldn’t do it anymore,” Snowden said.

“A number of injuries, but primarily my neck, have forced an early retirement from the game that has been my whole life.”

Snowden made his debut for the Club in 2005, playing 14 games, before moving to Cronulla in 2008.

“To make my NRL debut for the Knights, it was something I had dreamed of since I was a kid,” Snowden reflected.

“It really meant everything to me and while I wish I could have been a one-club player, it didn’t pan out that way.

“I know I was a better person and player for moving away and coming back to the Knights.”

In 2012, Snowden returned to Newcastle after playing 82 games for Cronulla.

“I was so happy I was able to play my last couple of years at the Knights,” Snowden added.

“To have my family and friends support me every week and to represent Newcastle meant the world, even though it has been cut short.”

After playing in round one this season, Snowden had since been sidelined with injury.

“Thanks to my family, friends and everyone that has given me their time to make me the player I became,” Snowden said.

“Thank you to the two clubs, and especially Ricky Stuart, who turned me into the man and player that other players wanted to play with.

“Finally, to the fans of Newcastle, thanks for your support and I am sorry I couldn’t finish the year off for you.”

Snowden will focus on the next phase of his life with wife Sian, son Mack and a new baby due in five weeks time.

“Footy is all I have ever known and it has been sad to end it this way, but my family and I are looking forward to what comes next,” Snowden concluded.

Be at Hunter Stadium to farewell all departing players, including Kade Snowden, this Sunday.