'The timing is right': Parry reflects on incredible career as she announces retirement

Mon, May 15, 2023, 5:24 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Shannon Parry has confirmed her retirement from Rugby. Photo: Getty Images
Shannon Parry has confirmed her retirement from Rugby. Photo: Getty Images

Wallaroos captain Shannon Parry is proud to have left Women's Rugby in a better place as she confirms her retirement from the sport.

Saturday's Test against Fijiana will be the 34-year-old's final match, admitting the decision had been playing on her mind for some time.

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“For me, the timing is right,” Parry told reporters.

“I've spoken to a lot of people and when I finished up with Sevens two years ago, I knew that the time was right then. 15s was a bit of a harder decision for me to make, but in saying that, for me, the body's had enough, mentally still going, but the body's starting to struggle.

"I'm really happy with where the squad's at now. We've got a lot of youth development pathways coming through and the time's just right for me and my family to make new transitions and start the next chapter in my life.

“I’ve been in the game a long time but I’ve only played at home a handful of times so for me to have family and friends here will be special.”

It brings to an end the career of one of the best Australian Women's Rugby players in the 21st century.

Parry went to four 15s World Cups (2010, '14, '17, 2021) along with co-captaining Australia to Olympic gold in 2016.

The gold medal stands out as a career highlight along with her maiden Wallaroos Test in 2010 whilst she had ridden the lows through a ruptured ACL and a lean run of form after Rio.

However, throughout this time, the inspirational leader has been at the forefront of the rapid growth of Rugby and contact sport for Women in Australia, a far cry from the 18-year-old who wandered down to Easts Rugby Club in Brisbane looking to have a go.

Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning was emotional when asked about Parry's legacy and her influence on the game.

"Her background within rugby and what she's done for rugby overall is an awesome legacy and we always talk about leaving a legacy," Tregonning said. 

"As a young teacher well in Illawarra, trying to get girls to play rugby, it wasn't till after the success in 2016 that I started having a lot more girls keen to play and we started getting teams together.

“To me, that's a massive impact because my daughter was apart of that and started playing rugby. It’s because of players like that and the opportunities they got and the ability to play in the Olympics.

“Shannon being a leader of that environment has changed the lives for a lot of girls coming up who are now comfortable with playing a sport that they love doing."

Parry will continue to have a profound effect on the game.

She will lead a team to the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago in August this year as Rugby Australia’s National Emerging Sevens Coach.

This comes after being named as part of the AIS' National Generation 2032 Coach Program alongside former teammate Emilee Barton, a development program for aspiring pathway and early career high-performance coaches.

"You're seeing a lot of changes around clubs making more socially acceptable change rooms and venues," she added. 

"That's just the change of society really starting to accept that women can play male-dominated sports. When I started it wasn't like that at all. It was very different.

"It just shows the investment in the game, and the future - there is no ceiling there."

Shannon Parry ends her career on a high. Photo: Getty Images
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