Wests Tigers player Chris Lawrence says he's proud to have played alongside Dene Halatau after the vice-captain announced his retirement at the end of the year.
Lawrence, who played with Halatau at Wests Tigers from 2006 to 2009 and from 2014 onwards, said that the New Zealand international was a terrific role model not only for the young players at the Club, but for all players in the National Rugby League competition.
"Obviously it's sad to see him retire at the end of the year," Lawrence said.
"He's been such a great player and a really great mate of mine for many years. He's had a great career and I hope that he can stay a part of football in some form when he's done.
"He's the type of player that every young guy should look up to.
"He brings professionalism, and always does the little things to get better as a footballer.
"As a person, he's a great mentor for the younger guys and he's incredibly humble.
"Dene has played at a number of different clubs and I don't think there's anyone that will say a bad word about him — he's one of those guys and a real legend of the game."
Lawrence, who has co-captained alongside Halatau this year with Aaron Woods unavailable due to State of Origin commitments, said he had learned a lot from the 33-year-old.
"It's been really good to share the captaincy alongside him," he said.
"I think being able to share that with him — we've really seen his leadership qualities come out. He's the type of guy who everyone listens to when he speaks because what he says matters."