Retiring due to injury is not something any player wants to do but it does unfortunately happen, with John Morris becoming the latest player forced to retire from the game.
The 300-game veteran last played for the Cronulla Sharks, succumbing to a neck injury – one that doctors advised him was serious enough to consider retirement.
Last playing in Rd 11, Morris hoped to return but knows that when it comes to injuries of this ilk, risking it is not worth it and so he decided to make a decision that was best for both his health and for his family.
â€œYou canâ€™t take any risks with an injury like this to your neck and with a young family with two young boys in Cruz and Taj and wife Michelle to consider, I had to think about the future,â€ Morris said.
The injury Morris sustained is described as a bulging disc in its most basic form and after a 15-year career, Morris was left to reminisce on a whole range of wonderful memories.
â€œIt has been a privilege and an honour to be able to play 15 years and 300 games in the NRL, in particular the last five years here at the Sharks,â€ Morris said. â€œIâ€™ve made numerous life-long friendships along the way and Iâ€™ve been fortunate to play with some of the worldâ€™s best players. Iâ€™ll be retiring with some great memories.
â€œIâ€™d certainly like to thank my wife Michelle and my family, all those Iâ€™ve played with, as well as all the coaches, staff and fans for their support.â€
As a result of his injury, Morris has recently been filing in as the assistant coach of the Cronulla Sharks, a role he enjoys. As a result, he is actively seeking to pursue some other sort of off-field role at the club.
â€œIâ€™ve really enjoyed the last eight weeks as an assistant to James Shepherd. Gaining this sort of coaching experience at an NRL level has been invaluable. Iâ€™m hoping to discuss the prospect of continuing in some capacity in an off-field role here at the Sharks next season,â€ Morris said.
With many at the club appreciative of what Morris has done for the NRL and the club, CEO Steve Noyce praised Morris’s professionalism and career.
â€œIn my experience I have always found John to be the consummate professional. Very committed, very dedicated,â€ Noyce said. â€œHe has been a great ambassador for rugby league and for the NRL both on and off the field.
â€œWhile itâ€™s disappointing his playing career has been cut short weâ€™d like to think he has a future here in another capacity and once this season is over weâ€™ll talk about an off-field role for John next year,â€ Noyce added.
It was back in 2001 when Morris made his debut for the Newcastle Knights, before enjoying stints with the Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers.