I feel part of a family with 34 brothers to lean on
Foundation Rebels prop Nic Henderson has announced his retirement from the game at the end of the season.
The Rebels loosehead prop will finish his illustrious career in Melbourne on July 12, announcing his retirement to his teammates Thursday in the lead up to the Rebels match against the Brumbies in Canberra, a club where he spent the majority of his professional days.
The ever humble Henderson paid tribute to all who have inspired him on his decade of greatness.
"Jodie, my wife, has been a huge supporter of my career and my best friend. Without her, I know I would not have succeeded as a Rugby player," Henderson said.
"In rugby you make friends for life. From my times at the Force and the Brumbies I have many wonderful memories and friendships which I will have until the day I die, especially from 2004 here in Canberra when we won the Super Rugby Final.
"As for the Rebels, as a group of players I have not seen a tighter bunch. I put that down to the roller coaster ride of being a new franchise.
"I feel part of a family with 34 brothers to lean on, and I know no matter how long it is between seeing the guys I've played with in the first three years we will always feel that affinity towards each other."
Friday Henderson played his 118th Super Rugby match, which is the second highest of any prop forward in Australian Rugby history, behind NSW Waratah Alistair Baxter on 121.
Nic's career began in Melbourne in 1999, where he was part of the Melbourne Storm wider training group before converting to Rugby Union. He debuted for the ACT Brumbies in their Premiership year of 2004 and, incredibly, featured in every Brumbies game until the end of the 2008 season.
Having won a Super Rugby title with the Brumbies, Nic then went on to play for the Wallabies, debuting against the Pacific Islanders in 2004, going on to play three tests for his country and being part of many Wallaby squads over his 11 year career.
Henderson joined the Rebels from the Western Force in 2010, after achieving Super 70 caps with the ACT Brumbies from 2003-2008, and eight whilst at the Force.
Henderson has been one of the franchise's most consistent performers since his arrival in 2010, playing an active role in the Victorian Rugby community, as the assistant coach of Footscray club and an ambassador for numerous charities.
Rebels coach Damien Hill described Henderson as one of the Rebels' best in 2013, both on and off the paddock.
"Nic has been an integral part of this franchise from the outset," said Hill.
"Hendo was recruited as much for his contribution off the field as he was for his playing ability and will leave a strong legacy with this young playing group.
"He has been instrumental within the team dynamics and culture at the Rebels, which is a legacy he will leave for many future Rebels to build on."
Both the Brumbies and Rebels recognised Henderson's contribution to Australia with a presentation post their match at Canberra Stadium on Friday.