On Sunday morning former Rebels and Wallabies’ star, Dane Haylett-Petty, officially announced his retirement from professional rugby.
The 32-year-old’s decision closes the curtain on what was a glittering 14-year playing career that included 38 Test Caps for the Wallabies and 84 appearances in Super Rugby - 33 of which were as a Melbourne Rebel.
Hailing from Durban, Haylett-Petty began his senior playing career over in the West, before arriving at The Stockade in 2018.
The talented fullback hit the ground running in his first season with the club, impressing his new teammates with his on-field communication, his carry and world class abilities under the high ball.
Haylett-Petty would start 10 of his first 11 games playing over 650 minutes, while running through 5 tries in 2018.
His strong leadership qualities were soon to be rewarded when he was appointed Rebels’ Captain for the 2019 season, where Haylett-Petty started 11 games, averaging over 70 minutes a game, scoring 2 tries.
The following year, despite COVID forcing the Rebels to relocate for the entirety of the 2020 Super Rugby AU season, Haylett-Petty played a starring role in the Rebels’ Round 10 clash against the Western Force, scoring a miraculous second half try as Melbourne claimed a stunning a 5-point win.
One-week later Haylett-Petty etched his name into Rebels' folklore, leading Melbourne out as Captain in the Club's maiden Finals appearance.
It would be Haylett-Petty’s 22nd and final game as Rebels’ Captain, as he later sustained a head injury during last year’s Bledisloe clash at Stadium Australia, Sydney.
After consulting with some of the best doctors in the world, in addition to four specialists, Haylett-Petty told RSN’s Breakfast Club, the “time the was right” to focus on the next chapter of his life.
“I had given myself the full twelve months off and tried everything to get back on the field,” said Haylett-Petty.
“In the end I always said if I’m not 100 percent, I’m not going to go back out on the field, so that’s what happened.
“It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but talking to other players who’ve gone through it, I know there’s been some younger guys at 20 or 21, 22, 23 years, who’ve dealt with this, so I felt quite lucky to have had a long career of 14 years before having to go through with this.”
Despite the setback, the former international is looking forward to embarking on a new chapter, focusing primarily on health and nutrition.
“I started rugby the day after I finished school, so I haven’t really done much else.”
“I’m really excited to see what’s next and tackle some new things.
“I’ve got a health food business in Perth; a couple of cafés and we’re looking to open a third one, plus I’m opening a gym as well, so we’re dedicated to a healthy lifestyle.”
Though he will no longer be spending his Friday nights running out onto AAMI Park, Haylett-Petty says he’ll remain connected to an emerging Melbourne Rebels squad – one which he’s excited to watch quickly grow under the leadership of Kevin Foote, Geoff Parling and Ryan Martin.
“I’m really excited to see what this coaching group can do.”
“Kevin Foote is going to be an amazing Head Coach and he’s recruited some great coaches I’ve worked with in the past.
“They’ve got a really good, young and exciting group, so it’s just about building the right program and bringing them through and getting that experience now.
“The Rebels have got a lot of good people in the room, so I’m excited about watching them and peering from the sidelines and supporting where I can.”
To listen to Dane’s full interview with the RSN Breakfast Club, please click the link below: