Bennett salutes retiring Parker

The 2015 NRL grand final broke Corey Parker’s heart.

Wayne Bennett reckons it was Parker’s finest hour.

The master coach has known Parker since Brisbane signed the forward as a 17-year-old.

He made his Broncos debut in 2001 aged 18.

But Bennett didn’t have to cast his mind back too far to cite his favourite Parker moment after the Brisbane skipper announced his retirement.

Brisbane may have lost the 2015 season decider in golden point to North Queensland.

Yet Parker’s never-say-die effort in what became a losing cause summed up the backrower in Bennett’s eyes.

“I go back to the grand final late in the game will always stick in my mind,” Bennett said.

“We were really struggling physically and it was at a pretty important moment and every time we needed a carry he put his hand up.

“I don’t know where he had the engine but he found it – that sums him up for me.

“He knew what had to be done and he just did it.”

Parker took the same approach when he discussed his future with his wife Margaux.

After much soul searching Parker decided his 16th NRL season would be his last.

The veteran of 336 games will equal Terry Lamb (350) at second on the NRL all-time list if Brisbane make it all the way to another grand final.

Bennett confirmed there was a one year offer tabled to Parker but was not surprised the Brisbane skipper decided to leave on his terms.

“We couldn’t commit beyond that, it was a year by year basis,” Bennett said of Parker’s contract extension.

“He’s always been his own man.

“He got his priorities in the right order and made the decision that was right for him.

“He won the battle with honesty that is required to make this decision.

“You go one more year you take that risk.

“He doesn’t want to lose control of his destiny.”

Parker won’t be lost to the Broncos, however.

Brisbane CEO Paul White confirmed they would have a role for him after retirement.

Parker was emotional at his retirement announcement but was sincere when he claimed he looked forward to life after footy.

“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without this great club,” he said.

“The journey is not quite over yet but I look forward to what the future brings.

“The game has given me so much I want to be able to give back, in what capacity is yet to be decided.”

Until then, Bennett looked forward to the remaining games he had with Parker.

“He was always a pleasure to coach,” he said.

“I don’t have to worry on game day what he is going to bring – he just does it.”

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