It is the end of another National Rugby League season and that means another lot of legends will retire and take their place in history.
Overshadowed by the retirement of Nathan Hindmarsh and Petero Civoneciva is an Englishman that has given every last ounce of sweat and every drop of blood for the Wests Tigers cause.
While not retiring, Gareth Ellis will return to England, possibly without an NRL premiership ring.
Hindmarsh and Civoneciva have rightfully taken plenty of the headlines in the lead up to the final round of the 2012 season. They have over 600 games between them and will forever be remembered as icons of their clubs.
St George Illawarra will also lose club stalwarts Dean Young and Ben Hornby.
Aaron Payne runs out in the playoffs for the last time at North Queensland and Michael Luck will finish a rock solid career in Auckland for the New Zealand Warriors.
“When you look at that group of blokes, I don’t think any of them have ever been in trouble for something they’ve done off the field – ever,” St George Illawarra’s Matt Cooper told AAP.
“They’re all just good blokes.
“It’s pretty sad to see guys like that leaving the game.
“I don’t think these blokes get the credit they deserve. They stay out of trouble, stay out of the limelight, they’re good role models for the kids.
“It’s a big loss for the NRL losing blokes like this.”
Cooper’s comments are Ellis to a tee. A role model and one of the toughest imports the NRL has seen in the modern era. Nobody can doubt the backrowers credentials when at the peak of his powers.
Ellis’ dominant displays since joining the Tigers in 2009 have seen the forward win three consecutive Wests Player of the Year awards. Only injury has hampered his chances of winning an unprecedented fourth straight title.
“I’m still happy with the decision I’ve made,” Ellis told The Telegraph earlier this month.
“I’m really looking forward to getting home in terms of getting back to my family and the challenge I’ve got when I get back there.
“When the day does come I have to say goodbye to everybody, it will be sad.
“When I first came here, I didn’t have any emotional ties to the place or any of the people. I came here for the job and to prove myself. It was for selfish reasons.
“Now four years later, I’m attached to everybody – I don’t feel like an Englishman playing in the NRL, I feel like a Wests Tigers player. That’s a credit to the club because they’ve made me feel so welcome.”
For what he has achieved in four years, Ellis deserves to be at the top of the class with Hindmarsh and Civoneciva.
Saturday night at Leichhardt oval may or may not be his final game in the NRL. Either way, you can be rest assured that there will be plenty of sore Melbourne Storm players on Sunday morning.