SOUTHEND’S influential prop forward Michael Guess has announced his retirement from National League rugby.

The 30-year-old former Seasiders skipper played his last game for the club against Dings Crusaders at Warners Bridge on Saturday.

And Guess is now keen to spend more time with his young family.

“I have twins who have just turned one and I have a four-year-old as well, so I want to be with them and my wife more at this time,” said Guess.

“I work as a scaffolder which often involves long hours so when you throw rugby into that as well I wouldn’t be at home an awful lot.

“That just isn’t right at the moment, so it’s the right thing for me to do and, with the young players the club have coming through, I’m not sure they really need me anymore either.”

Guess was originally forced to retire in February 2013 after suffering a nasty eye injury while playing against Launceston.

But he eventually returned to action the following September and remains delighted to have been able to extend his career.

“I’m glad I’ve been able to now retire when I wanted to and not because of my injury,” said Guess. “I also thought the more you knock on the Devil’s door then the more likely it is he will answer, so I didn’t want to keep on risking it.

“Chris Green (director or rugby) was gutted when I told him and it was very emotional at my last game because these guys are mates.

“My mum, dad and wife were all there and the players allowed me to run out on to the pitch on my own before the game.

“I think everyone else watching thought I had been on the end of a wind up but when they found out I got a number of really nice comments which were quite humbling.”

Guess insisted he would continue to be a frequent visitor to Warners Bridge and added he could well carry on playing at a lower level.

But, for the moment, he has opted against taking up a coaching position with Southend.

“I’m an all or nothing type of guy and I’m a bit of nerd when it comes to coaching,” said Guess.

“I look at all the stats and have a real in-depth look at everything so that would also take up a lot of time.

“However, we have four months until the start of the season and I’m sure I will still be talking to Chris Green and Daniel Legge all the time because I’m good mates with them so maybe I could help out again in the future.”