All-Australian defender Bachar Houli admits he was “shocked” by Alex Rance’s sudden retirement.
The 30-year-old called time on his career in December out of the blue, ending an incredible career with the Tigers.
Houli said that in the same week as his announcement, Rance was talking about plays as if it was any other day.
“I’m sure everyone was pretty shocked, I was very, very shocked to be quite honest," he said.
“Because I remember two days before he announced his retirement he was standing up talking about certain plays … it sounded like he was extremely passionate and just wanted to get on the field.
“I was really shocked, but things happen."
Houli hopes Rance returns to footy, but more importantly wishes for him to find happiness in his life.
"Everyone is sad that he has stepped away from the game, but I pray that he comes back because he such an incredible player but more importantly an incredible person … I pray that he comes back but more importantly we pray that he continues to be happy and to fulfil what he wants to fulfil in life," he said.
"Things happen and there is more to life than just football.
"(Alex) admitted he struggled to balance his life to an extent and we all go through that. We are not perfect human beings, but I am sure if he can balance other things in life and be able to incorporate all this I have confidence that he will return, but that is obviously his decision."