Ipswich Jets halfback Ian Lacey has today announced his retirement from rugby league, closing the curtain on an outstanding career in the Intrust Super Cup and National Rugby League.
Lacey, who played 23 games with the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL, attracted a cult following in Queenslands premier competition with his uncompromising and skilful play for Toowoomba, Aspley and Ipswich.
He played 154 Cup games, scoring 47 tries in total since debuting for the Toowoomba Clydesdales as an 18-year-old in 2003.
Fittingly, he notched his 100th game for the Ipswich Jets the club he put his heart and soul into for seven seasons in his final game of rugby league in September.
Lacey, who turns 29 later this month, admits his retirement is somewhat bittersweet after coming so close to premiership success on a number of occasions.
The last couple of years, it feels a bit like that because weve had the team to win it, he said.
Its disappointing not to win one, but Ive had 10 really enjoyable years in this competition and have been involved with some great people along the way.
Lacey played halfback for the Jets in their heartbreaking grand final loss to Souths Logan in 2008.
Just two years earlier, injury denied him the chance to play for either the Broncos or the Toowoomba Clydesdales in their respective 06 grand finals.
In a cruel twist, injury has ultimately forced him into early retirement, depriving him of another shot at premiership glory with an Ipswich Jets team on the rise under the guidance of Ben and Shane Walker.
Lacey made the decision to hang up the boots after receiving the results from an MRI scan on his injured neck last week.
The results werent too positive, he said.
I could have played on but the risk is too great.
Lacey plans to assist the Jets in a yet-to-be confirmed off-field capacity in 2014 but at the moment hes not thinking past his wedding day with partner Nicole at Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast this weekend.