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Raiders' Lima to retire after 2017 season

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/02/2017 Angelo Risso

Raiders and Kiwis veteran Jeff Lima will hang up the boots at the end of the 2017 NRL campaign.

The 34-year-old Aucklander, who played for the Kiwis six times between 2007 and 2009, returned from Catalans Dragons to sign for Canberra at the start of 2016.

But a fractured hand and hip injuries prevented Lima from making a major impact, appearing just six times as the side fell in the semi-finals.

A mega-pack including Kangaroos prop Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo also blocked Lima's path to a first-choice front row role.

Lima says a productive off-season in the Australian capital has rejuvenated him for the season ahead, but that it will be his last.

The well-travelled Lima won a pair of Premierships with the Storm, since stripped for salary cap breaches, and has played for the Tigers, Rabbitohs and Wigan.

He'd like to work with younger league players after his retirement.

"That'll be it for me, I'll retire after that, so I'm looking forward to pushing the young fellas around and just helping them out," Lima told NZ Newswire.

"I'm just going to try and get this year out of the way, I'll probably try and do something to help young players coming through."

In the meantime, Lima will guide an inexperienced Raiders group into this weekend's Auckland Nines tounament.

Of the side which fell to the Storm in last year's semi-final, only halves Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer, as well as Luke Bateman, have travelled across the ditch.

NRL skipper Jarrod Croker is absent, as is Kiwi winger Jordan Rapana.

Lima said the tournament would be the perfect barometer for his side's pre-season progress, with their NRL round one fixture against the Cowboys just weeks away.

It was also a solid testing ground for the side's young guns.

"It's a good test, the pace of the game, just getting a little match fitness while we're at it, setting the right standards."

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