Danika Priim announces retirement
Leeds Rhinos Women’s player Danika Priim has today announced her retirement from the game after a six year career that has seen her win every major honour in the domestic game and earn international honours for England.
The 37 year-old prop was part of the first ever Rhinos Women’s squad in 2018. She made her debut against her former club Bradford Bulls and went onto make 29 appearances for the Rhinos and score three tries. She was part of the Leeds team who secured the Challenge Cup and Super League double in 2019 and played her final game in the Grand Final match against St Helens at Emerald Headingley earlier this month.
She began playing Rugby League in 2015 after originally playing Rugby Union and played for Stanningley and then Bradford Bulls where she helped the team win the first Women’s Super League title. Priim made her England debut in 2015 and represented the national squad in the 2017 World Cup.
Speaking about her decision to retire Priim said: “I have had a wicked Rugby League career and I think finishing playing in a Grand Final at Emerald Headingley in front of a record crowd is the best way to bow out. There are a combination of things that have influenced my decision, I’m getting older, I have other commitments so I can’t commit to the team as much as I need to any more. The game is growing massively and the level of fitness and the level of skill is unbelievable and where the game is going to be next season or the season after is going to be incredible and I can’t commit to that as much as I want to do because of my work and things like that. There is a talented young bunch of girls coming through and if I have had any kind of influence over how they play or what they do in the seasons to come that is good enough for me. I think you when your time is to retire and I want to bow out playing in a Grand Final.
“Playing for Leeds Rhinos is the highlight of my rugby career. I’ve played for England and I have played in a world Cup but that first ever game in a Leeds Rhinos shirt at Odsal in 2018, walking out as vice captain with Lois as my captain is probably the second best moment of my rugby career. My first was in May 2018 when I walked out at Headingley in a Leeds shirt. Having thought as a massive fan of the club in 1996 that I’d never get the chance to play at Headingley because I was a girl and it just wasn’t the done thing and then 20 years later I was walking out at the stadium, it is the best memory I will ever have. It’s the best club I have ever played for and it meant the world to me. It’s so much more than a badge and a shirt and to be part of the culture and the ethos and the moral of this club has just been a wonderful experience.
“I would like to stay involved in Rugby League and I would like to stay part of the league and hopefully the club in some way. I have been really lucky over the last year and a half to find a pathway going down the media route with the BBC and Sky Sports and there is more of that lined up with the England internationals in a week’s time. So immediately it’s the media stuff but hopefully I will get on board with coaching.”
Paying tribute to Priim, Leeds Rhinos Women’s head coach Lois Forsell said: “Danika has had a great career, playing for England and Bradford Bulls and then finishing her career of at Leeds. I don’t think she will have wanted to finish off at any other club – she’s Leeds through and through. She’s been outstanding to coach and of course I played with Danika both at Bradford, Leeds and England and she was a great team mate. She will reflect on what has been a great career and have some amazing memories. I would like to thank her for everything she has done for our club and the group of girls that she has played alongside.”