By NIGEL PLUM
The decision to retire last Saturday night after the Warriors game was hard but also a decision I am comfortable with.
I recently suffered two head knocks back to back against Souths and the Roosters and I didn’t think too much of them, however a couple of weeks later when playing the Raiders, I copped a real heavy knock. For about four days or so after that, every time I sneezed or coughed I could feel pressure in my head. That scared me.
During that week I considered retiring right there and then because I’d never felt anything like that before.
After I came good and passed all the tests to play again, I made the decision that if I got another knock before the end of the year then that would be it.
I ended up copping a little knock during the final training session last Friday, there wasn’t much in it but I was dazed for about five seconds.
I guess the number of head knocks close to one another is what scared me the most and I made the decision to retire because of that, and I’m happy I’ve done so.
I went into the game against the Warriors last Saturday knowing it would be my last. I didn’t want to let the boys down, so I gave it my all.
The boys didn’t know I was retiring, only Ivan did, so it was hard telling them the news after the game – I was feeling very emotional. It’s hard to explain the feeling I had when that final whistle blew, knowing that it was all over.
I remember with five minutes to go we were attacking New Zealand’s line and I looked up at the clock and thought, this is really it. The last few minutes were pretty tough but I really cherished it.
I’ve been at Penrith since 2010 and my time at the club has been nothing short of memorable. I’d have to say last year’s fairytale run to the finals and Saturday night’s game, my 150th, were two of the highlights of my career.
I’m extremely proud of myself and the career I’ve had. I’m proud that I was smart enough to pull the pin when the time was right.
I’m still going to hang around the club for the next few weeks and train with the rehab group. Even though I’ve retired, I still want to support the boys.
I’d love to get a job at the club next year, I’ve made a home here at Penrith and if could stay involved somehow, that would be great. If not, hopefully I stay involved with the game in some capacity.
Finally, after many years branded as the hardest hitter in the game, I can’t go past Rooster Dylan Napa as the next in line. Dylan’s a great young talent and has a bright future. He’s got the size and ability, and I’m really glad I don’t have to run into him anymore.