Hull prop Mark O’Meley has been forced to bring forward his retirement due to a knee injury.
O’Meley, 32, had planned to hang up his boots at the season’s end but suffered knee ligament damage in the Challenge Cup final defeat to Wigan.
He said: “It’s a premature ending but it’s good to be able to say my last game was at Wembley in a big final with a good bunch of guys and all the Hull fans behind us.
“It’s a bit saddening and I wouldn’t have minded having a couple of last hit-outs with the boys before retiring at the end of the season, but everybody has made me feel welcome, the supporters have been awesome to me, the club’s been tremendous and I’ve made some really good friends here.
“I’ve had a lot of blokes getting in touch talking about retirement and how you deal with it. It will be a bit difficult but there’s a time when everybody has to stop doing what they love.
“I’ve done it since I was 15 and now I’m at an age where I’ve got to find the next chapter in my life and I’m pretty comfortable with doing that.”
He was part of the Bulldogs team that won the NRL Grand Final in 2004.
O’Meley added: “I’ve got two kids who love the game and are very passionate about rugby, so I’ll never become one of those old players who are bitter about the way the sport is or current players making more money from it.
“I want to be grateful for the game that’s given me everything I’ve got and rewarded me the way it did. It was disappointing that we didn’t win at Wembley but it’s still given me a taste of that and I count myself pretty fortunate and lucky to have had that experience, as well as playing for my country and for New South Wales, and winning the NRL Grand Final.”