England move a relief for Hinchcliffe
For the past month the decision to leave Melbourne had weighed heavily on the mind of Ryan Hinchcliffe and while his choice will leave Storm fans with a heavy heart the veteran admits he can now fully focus on the remainder of the season.
Hinchcliffe announced late on Monday that he had accepted a three-year offer to join Super League side Huddersfield Giants at the end of the year, making this his final season in Melbourne.
It will signal the end of a seven-year Storm career for one of the club's most beloved sons, which included the 2012 premiership and the club's 2010 Player of the Year award.
A long-time staple at the lock position, the 30-year-old workhorse has been limited to coming off the bench this season behind off-season recruit Dale Finucane.
While the decision was a tough one, ultimately the chance to extend his playing career and possibly step into the hooker position he once frequented as a junior proved too good to pass up.
"The opportunity to play three more years of rugby league was a big one," Hinchcliffe said.
"The people I've spoken to about the club speak very highly of it and obviously the opportunity to travel to the other side of the world. I feel very lucky at my age… to get a three-year deal to go over to play in the Super League, I'm very grateful for it.
"It's been lingering on for about a month now and I have to admit when the release came out at about six o'clock last night it was definitely a little bit of a weight off my shoulders.
"I can definitely focus on enjoying my time I have left here at the Storm and give all I can to go out on a positive note."
Hinchcliffe made his decision to leave the club a week ago but with Melbourne facing two games in six days the true clubman opted to hold off telling his teammates until after Sunday's loss to the Broncos.
"That has been the hardest part letting the boys know, it was fairly emotional for myself," Hinchcliffe said.
"I sat on that for four or five days but I had to do it, it is something all players have got to go through but it's done now and I can focus on enjoying the rest of the year."
Hinchcliffe has become a core member of the Storm squad, having been apart of the club's leadership group since 2011.
He arrived in Melbourne at the end of 2008, looking to establish himself after two fledgling seasons with Canberra where he played 21 games.
The veteran credits master coach Craig Bellamy for guiding him through a career that has now spanned 177 NRL games across nine seasons and counting.
"I came here as a 23/24-year-old kid not knowing if I was good enough to be able to do it," Hinchcliffe said.
"He (Bellamy) certainly showed me the way and I owe him a lot. Of all the things that have happened in my career and the success, he has played a huge part in it."