Champion Morningside ruckman Jacob Gough confirmed his retirement from football in the joyous aftermath of the Panthers’ 2010 grand final victory, admitting it was the perfect way to exit the game.

He was also most grateful to NT Thunder’s part-time doctor for getting him there.

“To come from behind the way we did, I couldn’t ask for anything more,” a beaming Gough said.

“I tried pretty hard not to think about it (retiring) leading up to the game. I didn’t want to get too wrapped up in it.

“But win, lose or draw my body had had enough.”

After three weeks of Morningside hiding the exact nature of Gough’s rib injury sustained in the qualifying final against Southport, the big man revealed he had a fractured rib.

“It was a fracture and dislocation of the bottom rib, where it joins the cartilage,” he said.

“Three weeks ago I thought I was gone. Sitting in the hospital on the Sunday night it didn’t look good. All the specialists were saying not to play. Just to get here was great.”

Gough praised the work of State team doctor and the NT Thunder’s Queensland match day GP, Dr Mark Gregg.

The Panthers’ long-serving doctor, Walter Zolte, was away for the finals series and with the Thunder eliminated in the first round, Dr Gregg stepped in to cover.

“I couldn’t have got here without him,” Gough said.

The 30-year-old revealed the extent of just how much he was hampered by the injury.

“I haven’t been able to run without painkilling injections and I haven’t been able to train for three weeks,” he said.

“I just waited for the weekend, took the painkiller and padded up. I got better at managing it each week.”

He even got more rib pain out of the grand final after being crashed into by Tim Notting while standing under a high ball.

“He has done something to the other rib,” Gough grimaced.

Gough only played half the game in the second semi-final with the fractured rib but was most influential, was solid against Southport in the preliminary final, then held his own in the grand final before being forced from the field in the last quarter with a hamstring problem.

“I think I contributed and played my role,” he said of his battle against two former AFL players in Peter Everitt and Trent Knobel.

“I’m a Hawks fan, so I grew up watching ‘Spida’. To play against two of the biggest and most feared ruckman in the comp was great.

“For him to come and play in our comp, him and Tim Noting and the likes, is just great.

Gough was delighted to watch 19-year-old Tom Hickey take over and play a pivotal role in the comeback victory.

“Young Hickey was awesome,” he said. “I did a hammy or something in the last and Tommy came on and looked after me. If he doesn’t get drafted I’ll very surprised.”

Gough finished with 208 games, four premierships, a Grogan Medal, a Joe Grant Medal and a place as arguably Morningside’s greatest ever player.

Co-captain Kent Abey thinks so.

“It was a great way to send off Morningside’s greatest player in history,” Abey said.

“I would daresay there would be no one who has had as much influence and been as successful with their premierships and best and fairests and State performances, and he’s an all-round good guy as well. He’s so respected at the club.

“It (the grand final win) was a fantastic way to reward him for his great career.”

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