From the moment he called a day on his time in the NRL, Michael Ennis had said that he’d dreamed to go out riding the waves of a Premiership win.
That he did.
Hanging up the boots come the close of the 2016 NRL Grand Final, Ennis’ 273-game career had finished in the perfect fashion.
Arriving at the Sharks ahead of the 2015 season, Ennis brought plenty of experience and a fierce will to win to the Club – just two of the many traits which would underline the efforts of the side’s run to the Premiership this year.
Many questioned if Ennis’ passion for the game would have slowed upon his departure from Belmore, but having turned in a remarkable season in 2015, the 32-year-old quickly put paid to the doubters.
Backing it up again in 2016, Ennis showed time and time again across his 51-games at the Sharks that the embers in the fire not only still burned, but raged on.
Ennis’ niggle and grit was often the catalyst for the side’s run of successes, not least playing a starring role in seeing the Sharks to a Club-best 15 consecutive wins this season.
Down by 10 and needing a spark, Ennis took matters into his own hands as the Sharks looked to reverse an early deficit against the Warriors in Round 16.
Picking the ball up from acting half before jinking right, Ennis’ 360-spin to score was capped off by one of the season’s more memorable post-try celebrations.
“Take your happy snap, put it in your album, and remember that one!” said Fox Sports’ lead commentator Matt Russell of the try.
In career best form, amidst a Club-record run of wins and appearing as fit and as healthy as ever before, Ennis called a press conference to announce his retirement ahead of the Sharks Round 20 clash versus the Knights.
Asked why he’d made the decision – perhaps ‘a year too early’ said the judges – Ennis quickly put things into perspective.
“It’s time to be a dad,” he said.
“I hated telling the kids that we couldn’t go down to the park and kick the ball around because Dad had to ice his knee, or that I couldn’t watch them play footy on a Saturday morning because we had to train.
“(Wife) Simone’s done an amazing job, it’s time to be a better husband for her, too.”
Year in Review: Michael Ennis*
Games played 2016 - 26
Try Assists: 14
Line Break Assists: 9
* Statistics via www.foxsports.com.au/nrl and Big League Magazine