North Queensland coach Neil Henry has confirmed that loose forward Dallas Johnson‘s career is over.
Johnson, 31, had announced just last week that he would retire at the end of the NRL season, but his farewell was brought forward six weeks after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament.
He suffered the injury by falling awkwardly in a tackle on Friday night – hardly a fitting swansong for one of league’s hardest players.
“It’s ironic that a guy who plays such a physical game has done his knee in a real innocuous situation,” Henry said.
“He has been hit from behind and fallen over someone – not a big collision by charging into a defender or carrying the ball.
“He is obviously very distressed about it, he just loves playing footy.
“Everyone likes to go out on their own terms and that has been taken away from him.
“Our thoughts are with him but the facts are, he’s done.”
In a stellar 11-season career, Johnson played 222 NRL games including four straight grand finals during his stint with Melbourne (2003-2009).
After spending 2010 with English Super League club Calatan Dragons, Johnson played 67 games for the Cowboys.
He also played 12 Origins for Queensland and a 2007 Test for Australia.