TOWNSVILLE - A pat on the back from teammate Justin Hodges signalled the end had come for Petero Civoniceva.
As North Queensland put the finishing touches on their impressive 33-16 NRL elimination final victory in Townsville on Saturday night, Hodges turned to his old friend with a bittersweet smile.
The Broncos never gave up but in the dying moments Civoniceva and his old mate Hodges knew it was all over.
"I just said 'thanks for everything', I have some great memories with this side," Civoniceva said.
"When I get home and unpack the football bag for the last time no doubt it will be emotional.
"But all I can do is be grateful for my career. I did what I wanted to do when I was a kid — to be here 15 years later I feel very lucky."
Cowboys veteran Aaron Payne may have played his last game after limping off in the 11th minute with a serious knee injury.