The 2020 Intrust Super Cup season will be the first Brendon Gibb won't run out in more than a decade - and he's okay with that.
The rugby league hard man played his final game for Souths Logan Magpies in Round 22 in August, where he scored a try in the 79th minute of the game, finishing on a high.
"This is literally my first year of not having a pre-season in over 12 to 13 years at a high level... my first Cup pre-season was 2007 at the (Central Queensland) Comets," Gibb said.
"It's nice. I'm going to still stay involved and get down to Souths training and just get around the boys every now and again. But at the moment, I'm just enjoying life away from footy. I'm liking not having those commitments because it has taken up so much of my time for so long.
"I'm enjoying not being flogged, enjoying not having to do 1.2s... all those gruelling exercises that are tedious and you turn up and dread every year. It's a nice feeling. All I have to do now is worry about not getting fat."
The 31-year-old said he was forced to call time on his career because of his knee.
"It's not in a good way. It’s bone on bone, so there's nothing I can do. It's just about strengthening it,” Gibb said.
“I've just got to try and get that strong and hopefully I can live a happy and comfortable life with a reasonably good knee.”
Gibb said there had been many highs and lows during his time in the game, all of which he shared on the One Life Effect podcast.
Gibb, who struggled with alcohol over the years, said his story was “a pretty good story for young footballers or young males to hear… about how if you make a few changes you can really improve your life”.
"There’s a few valuable parts that I thought young footballers could take a bit out of,” Gibb said.
“I listened to an Ash Bradman podcast for years called Addicted. I always took a lot out of that with my own struggles.
“It’s all about changing mindsets, positivity and different ways of thinking, different perspectives on things.
“I'm changing my life at the moment - trying to be a bit better at home.”
Gibb, who was five years sober on November 14, said his “proudest, favourite moment” during his rugby league career was running out for the Brisbane Broncos against the North Queensland Cowboys in front of his entire family.
“But I have been saying lately, dead set, my favourite - and I reckon this is 100 per cent true - my favourite ever football moment was the very last moment I played,” Gibb said.
“That last try in front of all my friends and family who came out and watched me... with dad at the fence cheering. I had so much emotion. I've been watching that 1000 times. I just can't believe that it happened. It was such a special way to go out.
“One hundred per cent - I'll take that moment. If I wasn't winning the competition, that was probably the second best way for me to retire.”
Gibb said his lowest point was “2014 – definitely… I was in a bad way at Norths with injuries”.
“Five years ago, when I was at my lowest point, I was captain of Norths, but only working three days a week down there as the groundsman,” Gibb said.
“Then 2016, I did my shoulder. It was probably something I carried and should’ve got fixed up, but I was never in the right mind frame or mindset to get stuff sorted. So I carried injuries for years and finally my shoulder blew out in 2016.
“I had so much good going on at home already so it wasn't that big a thing. But definitely 2014 when I was at my lowest, just driving around on that lawn mower thinking.
“I think I was filthy with a lot. After I left Broncos... I sort of just got pushed out the door and I thought it was all for nothing. I was really disappointed. I took up drinking and other stuff pretty heavily. That was definitely my lowest point.
“Once I made a few changes, things have been 100 times more positive and better.”
Gibb said he had always enjoyed his life, but during the past five years he had “just grown up – done a complete 180”.
“I never would've kicked on and grown up and got a better job if I stayed going the way I was going. I never had the motivation or maturity to do it,” Gibb said.
“I got off the drink, hit a heap of milestones and things just started getting better right from the start. Since then, I set little goals all the time and it means I keep improving. Now, with my kids, I do it all for my kids.
“Everyday I see them and we have a happy life. That's why I keep going and do what I do.”
The electrician, who has a four-year-old daughter and one-year-old son, said watching the Magpies run out in the first round next year would probably be a bit tough.
“That’ll be a tough one. You do want to be part of it. But my body, it has had enough. The writing was on the wall, it's all over for me,” Gibb said.
"I had two ankles, two wrists, thumbs, my shoulder strapped, my groin, rib cartilage pad and a needle in my rib, and then I was head to toe like a mummy…. it was such a process to get ready, so at the moment, I'm not going to miss that too much, but I am going to miss being around my mates and enjoying footy.
“I have always loved winning. I think that's what I'll miss - that enjoyment of winning with your mates.”
As for the future, Gibb said he looked forward “being a dad, living for my kids and enjoying that… enjoying my watching my kids grow up”.
“They're 100-mile an hour, full of energy. They're the best kids - so much personality and character. Definitely keeping me on my toes,” Gibb said.
“I would really like get involved with welfare or as mentor to young footballers - it’s something I’m quite passionate about and I would love to give back to the game in some way,” Gibb said.
Watch this space.