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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Barrow Raiders veteran on brink of retirement

EXPERIENCED forward Martin Ostler is set to call time on his Barrow Raiders career.

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WORK COMMITMENTS: Martin Ostler

The 32-year-old, who has made 140 appearances for the Craven Park club since joining from Sheffield Eagles in December 2006, is ready to retire from the game.

Ostler has been a regular in the side which won promotion and reached the Championship One Grand Final this season, but work and family commitments – as well as his age – have combined to make him favour bowing out.

“I think I’m probably going to retire,” said the Hull-born former Doncaster pack man, who made his Barrow debut against Blackpool in February 2007.

“It (the Grand Final defeat on Sunday) is a bad way to go out and I didn’t really want to go out like that, but I think that’s what will happen.

“I don’t want to say for definite, definite, but I think this is it.

“I’m 32 now and to play rugby, you don’t want to be totally knackered when you pack it in. It’s hard work keeping up with these young ‘uns now!”

Raiders coach Darren Holt – who himself called time on his playing career this season after sustained problems with a groin injury – is still hopeful Ostler can be persuaded to stay on.

The club have mounted a successful recruitment operation so far this month, signing on 18 players, including six new faces, for the 2013 season in the Championship.

The goal has been to retain as many of the current squad as possible, and Holt said: “I have spoken to Martin and the situation is still open, no decisions have been made.

“Martin has been retiring like me for the last six years.

“There is certainly no rush, but it is one of those things we will have to get down to and get on with and strap everything together. I will be speaking to Martin again.”

Ostler, though, cited his personal circumstances as a major reason for possible retirement.

He has a two-year-old daughter, Mia, with partner Ellie and has now set up a successful personal training business which takes up most of his time.

As such, rugby has taken more of a back-seat for a player who used to be employed full-time by the club.

“I don’t spend too much time at home – I don’t get to see Ellie and Mia all that much with training and working, it is pretty hard to juggle,” said Ostler, who intends to stay in Barrow, but ruled out the possibility of playing the amateur game when he hangs up his boots.

“This last season especially, my performances probably have suffered because I have not been able to do the training like I used to do.

“I used to be in the gym all the time, pushing myself and training as hard as I could. Now, I have only been getting the odd 30 minutes in here and there in between sessions, so I have not been able to put 100 per cent into the rugby and I think that could be a big reason why I have not been as good this year.”

He added: “You don’t want to be a total bum when you go out and you don’t want people to remember you for being a load of rubbish I suppose.

“You’ve got to knock it on the head at some point. I love it, it’s a tough decision to make.

“You are retired for a long time, but I am definitely swaying towards retirement at the moment.”

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