Super League: Ade Gardner retires to join St Helens backroom staff
Last Updated: 07/11/14 5:02pm
Former Great Britain winger Ade Gardner has announced his retirement and joined ex-team-mate Keiron Cunningham's new backroom team at St Helens.
The 31-year-old will take up the role of assistant strength and conditioning coach after more than 350 appearances in an illustrious career with Barrow and Saints.
It is difficult to walk away from the game in terms of playing but I'm delighted to take on this role at the club.
"Whilst it is difficult to walk away from the game in terms of playing, I'm delighted to take on this role at the club." said Gardner, who played the second half of the 2014 season on loan at Hull KR.
"I was going to retire at the end of 2015 but the club offered me this role to move into and it made sense. In the end it was the best decision for me and my family.
"I am retiring with a heavy heart. I had 15 good seasons at the best club in the world and have fond memories not only here but with Barrow, Hull KR and Great Britain too.
"But the opportunity to remain at this great club was too good to turn down.
"I am currently in the third year of a Sports Science degree at Loughborough University and this role will enable me to gain good insight and experience into this part of the game.
Ade is a superb professional who will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role built up over several years as a top-level player.
"I'd never say never about playing again but the focus for now is on this new role and I can't wait to get started."
Cunningham said: "We're delighted Ade has agreed to join the backroom staff. He is a superb professional who will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role built up over several years as a top-level rugby league player."
Gardner could be joined at the club by another former team-mate in Sean Long, with Salford owner Marwan Koukash confirming the departure of the Red Devils' assistant coach on Twitter.
"The club has reluctantly agreed to Sean Long's request to leave the club with immediate effect," wrote Koukash.
"I personally feel very disappointed. He knows why he is leaving and I wish him all the best. We won't take him back again."
Long has been linked with a similar role alongside Cunningham, who replaced Nathan Brown as head coach last month, at Langtree Park.