Rebels' Shipperley announces retirement
Cape Town - Melbourne Rebels wing Dom Shipperley has announced his retirement, bringing the curtain down on a 63-match career in Australian top-flight rugby.
The 27-year-old broke the news to his Melbourne Rebels team-mates just moments after the club’s landmark 46-14 win over the Sharks at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday.
After 44 caps with the Reds that included the Super Rugby championship in his 2011 debut season, Shipperley moved to Melbourne to join the Rebels in 2015 after signing a two-year deal with the club.
A fan and squad favourite at the Rebels, Shipperley scored four tries from 12 appearances in his first season, before a broken hand, and back-to-back major knee injuries derailed any on-field continuity.
At international level, the Brisbane-born winger won three caps for the Wallabies during the 2012 edition of The Rugby Championship and represented Australia in Rugby Sevens.
Shipperley said the decision was made with a “heavy heart”.
“After a couple of ACL reconstructions…I felt like it was time to hang up the boots,” he told the Melbourne Rebels' official website.
“The body has been saying ‘no’ for a while now. I’ve really enjoyed my time in Melbourne and in rugby in Australia generally, but I think it’s that time for me to not push it anymore and just move on.
“It’s a big thing to move on, but there’s a lot of support around me, which I really appreciate.”
Rebels head coach, Dave Wessels paid tribute to Shipperley’s resilience and character.
“Not to overstate it, Dom is just a champion human being,” he said.
“He’s won Super Rugby titles, he’s played for the Wallabies and he’s come back from three ACL injuries. I think coming back from one ACL is hard enough, but here is a guy that has come back from three, and unfortunately it just hasn’t been his run.
“The way he has applied himself through that process and the energy he has brought to the group, he has always just wanted the best for team.”
Melbourne Rebels Chief Executive Officer, Baden Stephenson said the club would continue to support Shipperley as he transitions into life post-rugby.
“As a club we recognise one of the most effective and powerful ways to link the community and professional games is to ensure players like Dom remain in Melbourne post rugby,” Stephenson said.
“We are currently introducing Dom to business and school partners of the Rebels to ensure his transition is a smooth and successful one.”