Trent Merrin admitted he had been arguing with the voice inside his head for a year now.
Back at the Dragons, the club he won a premiership with as a 20-year-old, Merrin realised the game was slipping away from him.
The drive, the physical commitment, the pace of the contest.
This is a bloke who ended the St George Illawarra 'chokers' tag when coached by Wayne Bennett, then broke the NSW State of Origin drought in 2014.
Merrin knows all about defying doubt.
But, in the build-up to the annual Anzac Day clash with the Roosters, he told his teammates he'd had enough.
He retires after 223 NRL games for the Dragons and Penrith, as well as 28 for Leeds in England, 13 Origins and seven Tests for Australia.
It leaves only Brett Morris, who will line up for the Roosters on Sunday, as the lone remaining active player from the Dragons' premiership team.
"I knew within myself that I have nothing else in the tank," he said. "Nothing else to prove, nothing else to give.
"And I made that personal choice after the (Warriors) game and I made it as a family choice when I sat down with the family."
By Monday, Merrin sat down with coach Anthony Griffin, his boss at Penrith and now again at the Dragons, to tell him it was over.
Griffin asked him to think about it and chat later in the week but Merrin's mind was made up.
In truth Merrin had been inching to this decision for some time.
"It's one of the most selfless things I've seen a player do," Griffin said. "He hasn't asked for any money, or any time, he could easily pick up a cheque off the bench.
"He realises he's not getting what he needs to get to fulfill himself and realises the club's not getting what the club needs."
Merrin's career was made on effort and commitment. Moving to the Illawarra in his early teens, Merrin played for Port Kembla and Shellharbour, before his career began to launch in 2008 as part of the Dragons' under-20 National Youth Cup team.
He made his debut the following year and in 2010 was part of 23 of 27 games the Dragons played on their relentless march to a breakthrough joint-venture title.
From April, St George Illawarra were top of the ladder and lost just seven games all year before winning the World Club Championship in 2011.
"I idolised this club as a kid and I got to play with my idols as well," he said.
"So it's great to come full circle and finish with the Red V. It's hard to go past the grand final, it was a special year, we worked so hard to get to that position.
"But debuting for this club is the highlight of my career, it didn't come easy."
In his speech to the Dragons players on Wednesday, Merrin laid out the challenge to be a title force again.
"They've set the standard here, so has Hook, and made it easy (to retire)," he said.
"Because I know I'm not capable anymore to reach that standard. We're a club full of potential."