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The day the GOAT retired from the game

Flashback: The day 'Joey' retired from the game!

It’s hard to stomach that it’s been 13 years since Andrew Johns retired.

But on this day, the eighth immortal called it a day.

It was April 10, 2007.

Johns had a bulging disc in his neck and at the age of 32, the GOAT hung up the boots.

In a press conference spanning 20 minutes, featuring the Club doctor, his manager, CEO, coach and Joey himself, the announcement sent a shock wave through the rugby league community.

"I'm still in shock," Johns said of his decision at the time.

"I was in shock when it happened, just totally numb.

"It was really tough telling my family.

"I made an emotional call to my brother Matthew and it was even tougher talking to the players this afternoon.

"I think the time's right."

In a freak training mishap, Johns was sent for a CAT scan after colliding with teammates Daniel Abraham and Adam Woolnough ahead of preparations for a game against Melbourne.

A few days later and the Club’s worst fears were confirmed.

The neck injury, capping off a horror run for Johns in the latter years of his career with a broken jaw, knee issue and back problems just some of the challenges the No.7 was forced to deal with.

Having achieved almost everything the game could offer, including two premierships, 249 NRL games, 23 appearances for NSW and 24 for Australia, the eighth immortal’s decision to call it a day was met with relief by his family.

"They've sort of known that the neck's been sore for a couple of weeks," he said.

"I think they were relieved.

"I would have loved to have finished with a premiership but look, this could have happened when I was 19-year-old.

"I've achieved so much in the game and I regard myself to be very lucky.

"So it is a shock, but look, I'm not totally disappointed because I've had some great memories and - the main thing - I've had some great friendships which is the most treasured thing I've got out of the game.

"I've had a fairy-tale career and I've feel lucky to have played the game.”