FORMER Saints Grand Final winner Sia Soliola has announced his retirement for professional rugby league after 17 seasons at the highest level.

The Kiwi and Samoa international was a real fans favourite, who wore the red vee with pride between 2010-14.

He went on to equally endear himself with Canberra Raiders and their followers in the last seven years in the NRL.

“I’m at ease with everything now,” Soliola told the Raiders website.

“There’s a few mixed emotions, I’m excited and a bit nervous but relieved to make the decision to leave the game which has given me a lot and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead."

Although signed originally as a centre, Soliola really established himself as a big hitting back row after joining from Sydney Roosters at the start of the 2010 campaign.

He suffered a serious knee injury in training that ruled him out for most of the year.

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But his return, in the last days of Knowsley Road, was part of the fillip Saints needed to reach the Grand Final, where they lost to Wigan.

The popular Samoan international would enjoy four more seasons in the red vee, scoring 31 tries in 117 appearances.

His dynamic surges with the ball were matched by some special defensive efforts where he would line up the attacker and whack them.

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Soliola scored a crucial try in the 2014 Grand Final, powering over with a super-human effort in the win over Wigan.

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It would be his last game for Saints before returning to the NRL with Canberra.

But there are lessons he learned at Saints - and where he was hugely popular with the supporters - that he was able to take back and benefit the Canberra club.

“When I first came here to this club (Canberra) and Ricky spoke about the vision and what he had regarding the playing group and the club as a whole, that’s what really excited me,” Soliola said.

“Especially being over at St Helens where I really enjoyed my time over there and everyone notices how the English Super League operates and how the crowds and communities come together and he wanted me to bring that energy and experience that I had over there and bring it to Canberra."

Sia Soliola

Career First Grade Matches: 336

NRL Career Matches: 229 (Raiders 137, Roosters 92)

Super League Matches: 117 (St Helens)

Representative Matches: 16 (New Zealand 12, Samoa 4)