A desire to spend more time with his family was the simple catalyst for Cronulla veteran Michael Ennis’ decision to retire at the end of the NRL season.
Ennis, 32, surprised the rugby league community on Tuesday when he confirmed he would knock back a one-year extension from the Sharks to hang up the boots after 14 seasons in the game.
The former NSW State of Origin representative first told his teammates at a lunch before making the emotional announcement in front of his family and teammates at the Sharks League Club.
“I’ve got a beautiful wife and four children sitting there,” Ennis said on Tuesday.
“And to have to say, ‘No, I can’t take you to the park, dad’s got to stay home and ice his leg’, or, ‘Dad can’t go there today – I’ve got training tomorrow’, it got to a certain point where I need to make a decision around that and it’s time to be a dad.”
Ennis admitted he had first considered giving up the game in May but only settled on the resolution with his wife Simone over the past month.
“It was a bit of a novelty because I’ve got the four children and to know that that security was there financially was something that made me sleep easy,” he said.
“But when I got home with my wife Simone and the thought of actually playing next year and bring that to a realisation, I realised I couldn’t do that.
“Simone knows my character and knows my traits and knows when I’m saying things when I just need a kick up the butt and told to keep going.
“But this was the right time and she knew that. I think with how comfortable I am about the decision certainly makes it feel like it’s the right decision for our family as well.”
Ennis has played 264 games across stints at Newcastle, Brisbane, St George Illawarra, Canterbury and the Sharks, and has appeared in eight Origin games for the Blues.