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NBL veteran Worthington to retire

NZN 22/01/2017 Josh Bristow

The Cairns Taipans will be desperately hoping to extend the NBL career of veteran forward Mark Worthington into the post-season, after the 33 year old announced he will retire at season's end.

Worthington went public with the decision after the Snakes' six point win over Illawarra on Sunday, after spending 12 seasons in the NBL.

"This will be my last year playing, it's been a great ride, the injuries have nothing to do with it - I made this decision long beforehand," Worthington said.

"I've enjoyed basketball, I love it. But it's the right time to say goodbye."

The two-time Olympian has been battling a shoulder injury in the latter stages of this season, meaning he's become a game-to-game prospect.

But he's now set go out on his terms, and as a frontrunner for the Taipans' MVP award.

Worthington has enjoyed a renaissance of form this season, averaging 11 points, five rebounds and more than three assists a game.

"I thought I had one good year left in me and I wanted to enjoy everything about playing basketball and I think that's been reflected in the way I've played this year," he said.

Worthington's already dipped his feet into the world of coaching after mentoring Cairns' Queensland state league women's side last year and Taipans boss Aaron Fearne said there could be a future in coaching.

"With Mark's experience, he's played all over the world, in the national set up, (won) championships ... coaching down the track, it's not an easy job but it's a decision he'll have to make if he wants to sink his teeth into it," Fearne said.

Worthington's five points and five rebounds helped Cairns beat Illawarra 85-79 on Sunday and Hawks coach Rob Beveridge was full of praise for the fiery forward.

"When he steps on the court it's white line fever, he is nasty, he is a winner and he is a competitor, and his teams are always in the equation," Beveridge said.

"I'm pretty proud of Wortho for all that he has done."

The Taipans have six games left in the regular season and are currently seventh on the NBL ladder.

Worthington, though, is dreaming of another crack at an NBL title.

"Hopefully I don't have six games left. Hopefully we have more (games) and whatever the challenges are in the back end of this season, we'll embrace them," he said.

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