Peter Wallace feared he would jeopardise Penrith's premiership run if he pushed through with his battered body after announcing his immediate retirement after 240 NRL appearances.
Wallace put an end to his 14-year Telstra Premiership career that included two stints at the Panthers and six seasons at the Broncos following an ongoing shoulder injury.
The 32-year-old stalwart admitted it was a bittersweet time to hang up the boots with the Panthers well placed as equal competition leaders and in contention to lift the trophy at season's end, but the rigours of the game proved too hard to overcome.
"I would've loved to have been there at the end of the year but it wasn't fair on them or the club to hang on for the sake of it and not contribute in the right way," Wallace said on Wednesday.
"This injury is not allowing me to train the way I need to. I've had ongoing things but I've always been in the position where I could do my rehab and it would be fine.
Wallace opens up on his retirement
"My knee was ongoing but it never stopped me from being at the standard I needed to be at. I don't want to hold them back or let anyone down."
Wallace's selfless attitude has been the cornerstone to his no-nonsense career which also included four appearances for NSW and four internationals for Scotland.
Broncos legend Darren Lockyer has labelled Wallace the toughest player he played alongside – a compliment he humbly accepts.
"It's nice to hear but I don't know, I was never the most skilful, fastest or strongest so I had to have something a bit different," Wallace said.
"I do have a higher pain threshold but the case of playing injured I just didn't want to let any of the boys down. They're important positions. If the team was going to be better off with me out there I should be.
"Sometimes that's playing injured and pushing through that pain barrier."
Back-to-back ACL knee injuries upon his return to the Panthers in 2014 threatened to derail Wallace's career then and thereafter the first surgery proved unsuccessful.
Ironically, the man who let him go at the Broncos – then coach Anthony Griffin – would later rejuvenate his career two years later with a permanent move to hooker at the foot of the mountains.
"The move from Brisbane at the time I was settled but it was what I needed, I came back here really fresh and ready to go," Wallace said.
"Unfortunately I did my knee that year but it was the right move for me. I wouldn't want to play for anyone else. It was a chance to come home and potentially finish my career here so it was definitely the right one."
Wallace has already been offered a coaching position at the Panthers for the remainder of the season.
He will then discuss a new role with the club in the future over the off-season.
"Hopefully I'll still have a bit to do with the boys in first grade and helping them out," Wallace said.
"I'm looking forward to that side of life. I think coaching is a natural fit for me."
Yeo remembers first on-field blast from Wallace