RETIRING Cronulla hooker Michael Ennis made a call to someone whose opinion he valued greatly before announcing his shock decision this week that 2016 would be his last season.
The call was to his former NRL coach Wayne Bennett, who over the past three decades has listened and advised many great players on such big career decisions.
Asked about Ennis's decision to call it quits when many thought the 32-year-old journeyman still had a season or two left given his outstanding form with the Sharks this season, Bennett revealed he had spoken to his former charge about retirement only recently.
"I've remained very good friends with Michael - he was one of best players I have ever coached,” Bennett said.
"He is an outstanding guy and when he retires, the game will not have seen the end of him.
"Players are always a bit undecided when they know what they're feeling and what's going on in their heads and their bodies, and sometimes their need to get some other opinions.”
Ennis might yet get a fairytale ending with the Sharks - the premiership lap of honour he missed out on with Bennett and the Broncos in 2006.
That year he suffered a shattering knee injuring and watched on as Brisbane upset the Melbourne Storm in the grand final to win the last of their six premierships under Bennett.
Ennis was playing at Suncorp Stadium against Souths when he changed direction and snapped his ACL.
It was a cruel blow.
He did everything humanly possible to get back for the finals, and almost made it.
A premiership is certainly well deserved.
Ennis is one of the most combative, competitive and annoying on the field, but also very well liked off it.
"He loves the game and he gives his best every week and he is a great lesson for a lot of guys in the NRL who don't give their best every week,” Bennett said.
"Sometimes he can get too paranoid and put too much pressure on himself, but he's been a wonderful player and an outstanding person.”
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