Simmons bows out on his own terms
In his 200th and final NRL game, standing in at captain for the Penrith Panthers, veteran winger David Simmons put his career to bed in the perfect way with his team's 30-12 win over the Newcastle Knights.
In saying that, Simmons's retirement also comes despite coach Ivan Cleary's hopes the 30-year-old would extend his career beyond the 2015 season.
Satisfied with finishing his career with a double century of appearances and over a 100 tries in the top grade, Simmons was forever grateful for the two-year deal the club initially gave him after the 2009 season following a disappointing year with the Sharks.
"They threw me a lifeline when I was struggling a bit. It helped me to build my career up again," Simmons said.
"I raised three of my four kids out here at Penrith. The coaching staff and everyone have been real helpful in that regard.
"It's been a great club for me personally. They helped me to grow heaps. The culture here is really good. We had a tough year, but we're going to bounce back next year."
But it still wasn't enough for Cleary to convince Simmons for a 2016 swansong season.
"I said to him a couple of weeks ago I wanted him to keep playing," Cleary said.
"But the measure of the man, he made his decision and he's moving on with his life."
Simmons won't be a complete stranger at the club though as he tries to etch a post-football career, with an eye on securing an off-field role at the Panthers moving forward.
"It'll be hard for them to keep me away. I love the guys here," Simmons said.
"I think we've got a great young crop of players. They're going to be a good team for a long time and I want to be a part of it.
"If at the very least, I'll be a fan."
Cleary said he would happily take Simmons up on his offer, especially with the player being one of the last standing originals of Penrith general manager Phil Gould's five-year plan – alongside the recently retired Nigel Plum and prop Sam McKendry.
"I'd love to have him involved. He's a great role model and a great contributor to the culture of the club," Cleary said.
"We started this club's rebuild in 2012 and Dave was one of the guys who were here. He's one of few that survived that. I wish he'd go on, but I guess time's the enemy there."