Player announces retirement. Same player sneakily reappears six months later, on the field, in a jersey, boots on, takes first hit up of new season.
The comeback is a struggle all retired players, in any code, battle with after announcing the dreaded ‘R’ word in September.
But retiring Nyngan Tigers prop Todd Rope isn’t going to be one of those players, and that’s despite losing his first, and now last, Group 11 first grade grand final appearance on Sunday.
The Tigers suffered a 34-18 loss to Dubbo CYMS, a club still celebrating a third premiership win in five years.
It was Rope’s first foray into the Group 11 big dance and the despite it being a loss, the Tigers life member has no designs to have another crack at a title.
“Yeah, I know, I’ve been talking about it for a while,” Rope said on his retirement.
“I’ve got a young bloke that’s playing in the under 11s grand final this year and it’s about time I spent a bit of time with the family.
“I love my footy and I’m really going to miss it, but I’ll jump in with the crowd and have a few beers and enjoy it.”
He said leaving the field will be tough after giving virtually all of his 37 years to rugby league in Nyngan.
He said the club mean’s “everything” to him
“I’ve lived and breathed it since I was a kid. I love footy and especially Nyngan. It’s a thing. Everyone that comes and plays with Nyngan will tell you they love it.
“Blokes like Reece Goldsmith, Rod Coates went to the city and they had to come back. It’s that good of a place. It’s everything.”
Rope is confident the Tigers will be back on the big stage in 2018, with the experience of this year’s grand final loss to drive the club to new heights.
“I think it’s a bit of experience,” he said, looking for a difference between the two sides.
It was Nyngan’s first Group 11 first grade grand final, while CYMS play in the decider virtually every year.
“We were patchy at times, probably a few unforced errors … probably cost us. I’m hoping the boys can keep going and get bigger and better.”