Heighington: ‘You have to retire one day and I’ll have to make that decision’

The drive and passion of playing football week in and week out is still there for Chris Heighington. 

Following closely behind Paul Gallen from the Cronulla Sharks as currently the oldest player in the NRL, the 36-year-old knows the time will come one day when he has to hang up the boots. 

The nib Newcastle Knights forward admits he's a tad nervous about when that time will come, but for now continues to soak it all up. 

"A lot of people say a day will come where you'll know when to retire. I haven't had that yet so I'm a bit nervous about that," Heighington said. 

"I still love turning up to training, getting out on the training field with the boys and having a laugh in the shed. 


"I still haven't felt that (the need to retire) which is a bit of a surprise, but you've got to retire one day, and I'll have to make a decision over the next few weeks." 

The Central Coast local did acknowledge his decision whether to play on next season will be a difficult one, but it will be something he talks through with his family. 

"I think I could (play on) but I'm not sure if I'm going to," Heighington commented. 

"I'll play a few more games and sit down with my family, my friends and people who have helped me through my career and come to a decision." 

The veteran forward admits their loss against the Melbourne Storm on the weekend was a disappointing way to head into the bye. 

Despite a solid week of preparations, Heighington believes their game fell flat, with momentum created in the game going to waste. 


"With your time away, you might always be thinking of the game and everything's about winning, so if we won, we could enjoy our time off a bit more but losing sets you back a bit," he said. 

Although, he believes a few days off will serve as a refreshing break for all players, as long as they don't get too off track. 

"I'm looking forward to a few days off," Heighington maintained. 

"It's always better going into a bye after a win; obviously didn't get that but I'll still do a bit here and there and come in fresh Monday. 

"It's important to rest the legs but also to make sure your diet stays in check because it can blow out pretty quick. I won't do much running or fitness, but I'll definitely be looking after myself in other areas." 

Asked whether their first game back against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will be season-defining, Heighington agreed it will be an important match to win. 

"It's a big game," said the Knights forward. 

"There's games this year where we should've won, the Titans come to mind. Even that game on the weekend, if we got those few tries. 

"We've had games where we could've won, and we could be sitting higher up on the ladder but the game against the Bulldogs is definitely a big game at home which could put us back on track." 


Meanwhile, news of teammate Kalyn Ponga donning the maroon jersey for Origin this Sunday has received praise from the veteran. 

The Knights enforcer said the youngster deserves all the attention he's getting. 

"He's a good young kid. He's so down to earth and wants to keep working on his game. Hopefully he gets the minutes and plays fullback where he's best suited," he stated. 

"I'm sure if they put him anywhere, he'll do a good job. He plays so adlib and free that he'll find some opportunities when NSW are tired." 

But being a blues supporter, hopes Ponga's flare won't help them too much. 

"I want him to have an outstanding game but maybe not win the game," he laughed. 

"If Queensland win, then it goes into a decider, so I can sit there, eat popcorn and enjoy it even more." 

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