Nigel Plum looks forward to the future as retirement nears

End is near: Penrith Panthers forward Nigel Plum is likely to retire at the end of the 2015 NRL season.
End is near: Penrith Panthers forward Nigel Plum is likely to retire at the end of the 2015 NRL season.

Penrith Panthers hard man Nigel Plum has always wanted to go out on his own terms — and he is almost certain 2015 will be the year he hangs up his boots.

Since the start of the season Plum has been going along as though it will be his last, although for one brief moment he thought he might keep playing.

"After the first game, I thought maybe I could keep playing, but the next day I was pretty sore," he said.

"I want to finish playing footy when I'm ready.

"I don't want people saying 'Oh he shouldn't have played last year'. I want to finish on a high."

But for the 32-year-old retirement is more about spending time with his family than being too old to carry on.

"I've got three young kids now, so if I can get weekends off and spend time with them, it would be great," he said.

"They're one, three and five years old and my oldest is at school now.

"I want to be able to spend weekends with my family."

Aside from his father duties, exactly what the future holds for Plum is still up in the air.

He has almost finished a diploma of business at TAFE, but nothing is set in stone for 2016.

He has met a few of the club's sponsors to see if any of their industries suit him.

"It's exciting [but] at the same time a little bit daunting knowing that come November I'm unemployed.

"But with that there's the excitement of moving on to something different.

"I do want to own my own business one day . . . I just don't know what that business is yet."

Originally from Wagga Wagga, Plum played his junior football for the Wagga Kangaroos before making the move to Sydney.

He played lower grades for Western Suburbs before making his NRL debut for the Roosters in 2005.

He later played for the Canberra Raiders before linking up with the Panthers in 2010.

There was a time where he thought he would go back to Wagga when he retired, but it is now looking more likely he will stay in Sydney.

Plum said he has been approached in recent years about coming back to Wagga.

In his 10 years as an NRL player, Plum said it was hard to say how much the game had changed.

"I guess on the field, I haven't really noticed too much difference," he said.

"The speed of the game has obviously gotten quicker and the wrestle has come in as well. I think it's more exciting."

As for the highlight of his career, Plum said it was hard to go past his debut.

"I think you [could] pretty much ask any player and that would probably be his answer."

Before he hangs up his boots, he has one goal he would love to achieve with the Panthers.

"I'd like to play 100 games for the club, which I'm hoping to do this year."

Plum currently sits on 85 games for the Panthers, so his dream of racking up 100 is possible if he plays every remaining competition game and at least two finals matches.

During his career, Plum has been well known for wearing headgear.

Nigel Plum

Nigel Plum

"I wore it my whole life up until I was about 21 and then I used to wear it occasionally after that for head cuts and stuff like that.

"I got myself pretty well knocked out in 2010 and my wife wanted me to put it back on."

Plum has also had a bit of a knack for putting big hits on in defence, but is not sure if he wants to be remembered for his tackling ability.

"I guess so, at the same time I'd probably be rather known as someone who did his best to win games."

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