COWBOYS star Michael Morgan has been forced to hang up the boots immediately as he continues to battle a chronic shoulder injury.
The North Queensland co-captain re-injured his troublesome shoulder in the round two clash against St George Illawarra.
The 29-year-old was able to finish the match, but further medical assessment uncovered new damage, which led to the decision to call time on his career.
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Morgan admits the decision to retire was out of his control.
“This is not the way I envisioned my career finishing, but I’m retiring knowing I gave myself every opportunity over the last 12 months for my shoulder to be strong enough to continue playing. Unfortunately, the end result was out of my control,” Morgan said.
“Even though I’m hanging up the boots at 29, I’m extremely proud of everything I achieved over the course of 12 seasons as an NRL player.
“As someone who was born and raised in Townsville, the opportunity to join the Cowboys as a 16-year-old was fulfilling a life-long dream and I’m grateful for every moment at this great club.
“Listing every person who contributed to my career would be impossible, but to all my teammates, coaches, everyone who supported me throughout my career, including Cowboys members and fans and most importantly my family – thank you.”
Morgan played 168 games and scored 58 tries in Cowboys colours and represented both Australia and Queensland in the State of Origin numerous times.
Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel described Morgan an as influential leader both on and off the field.
“Michael was a North Queensland and Townsville junior, came to our club as a teenager and would go on to be named captain of our club,” he said.
“Everyone remembers what he has contributed to our club on the field, in particular helping us win our first premiership in 2015 and our grand final run in 2017, but what I have been privileged to witness is him mature as a man off the field. His leadership around our club and his care for not only his teammates, but everyone at the Cowboys has been inspiring.
“His toughness and tenacity to be able to endure what he has over the last couple of seasons should be admired – he has looked under every last rock and has gone through a lot of pain to reach the point he has today.
“Michael Morgan will be remembered as one of the greatest to ever take the field for the North Queensland Cowboys.”