NRL: Brisbane Broncos and Queensland champion Corey Parker announces his retirement, and why it was important for him to leave the game at the peak of his powers.
BRISBANE skipper Corey Parker says a fear of playing past his used-by date has prompted a decision to retire at the end of the 2016 NRL season.
Parker will end his career after his 16th season of first grade and he has a chance to move onto equal second on the NRL all-time list for matches played.
The 34-year-old has amassed 336 games since debuting for the Broncos in 2001 as an 18-year-old and could move past Steve Menzies (349) and level with Terry Lamb should he play his side’s remaining 10 matches and also get to play in four finals games.
He had a chance to move past former premiership-winning Broncos teammate Darren Lockyer’s all-time record of 355 games had he gone on next year.
Parker had been in negotiations for a contract extension and Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said he was prepared to offer him another year on his deal.
“I just wanted to do things on my terms and I’m fortunate enough that I’m able to do that,” Parker said of his pending retirement.
“It’s important for me that I know I walk away from the game that I love on my terms.
“One of my biggest motivating factors going into games of rugby league is not to let my mates down.
“I don’t ever want to get to a point where my mates were looking sideways at me, thinking, ‘Maybe it’s passed him.’”
Parker is preparing for his 18th State of Origin game for Queensland on Wednesday night.
He has also played 13 Tests for Australia.