Castleford Tigers captain Danny Orr will retire at the end of the season even though the crowd favourite readily admits he could easily play on in 2013.
The ex-Great Britain scrum-half, who leads Castleford at one of his former clubs, Wigan Warriors, tonight, will stay on as Ian Millward’s assistant coach.
Orr, 34, told the Yorkshire Post: “I feel as though, physically, I could do another year – in fact, I know I could.
“But a coaching opportunity has come about and it is something I want to take up.
“If I’d have carried on playing, that chance might not have been there in another 12 months and I’d have missed out.
“I need to look at life after rugby and I do enjoy coaching. I’ll be assisting with the first team and then taking one of the club’s younger sides on an evening.”
Orr made his debut for hometown Castleford as a scampering 17-year-old in 1997 and went on to earn a big-money move to Wigan.
He later spent four years in London before returning to Wheldon Road last season.
“I’ve had three fantastic clubs in Cas’, Wigan and London,” said Orr. “Part of the reason I’ve announced this now is so I can say a bit of a thank-you to the Wigan fans on Friday night.
“Making my debut for Cas’, playing in a Challenge Cup final with Wigan and, of course, debuting with Great Britain are all highlights.
“Come the last game of the season, I’ll be emotional, I know that.
“It’s been something I’ve done for such a long, long time and is such a big part of my life so when it’s gone I will miss it.
“But you have to move on and I am excited about the coaching.”
First, though, comes tonight’s challenge at Super League leaders Wigan.
Twelfth-placed Castleford are clearly entering a transitional period with Orr the latest in a long list of players to announce their departure.
Head coach Millward is rebuilding for 2013 but they remain committed to this campaign despite the play-offs being out of reach.
After stunning Huddersfield Giants 52-6, they lost 40-26 at high-flying Warrington Wolves last time out.
Orr said: “We were 30-0 down at half-time but that wasn’t the story at all. They had three or four good chances and took them all; we got three or four and blew every one.
“We were a lot better in the second half and take confidence from that to have a real go at Wigan.”
On Orr’s decision, Millward added: “Danny’s been a good servant to rugby league and Castleford. He’s a good clean-natured guy and a local boy with great pedigree.
“I’m pleased he will come onto our coaching staff, assisting myself and Stuart Donlan; it will be a good starting point for him.”