Morgan confirmed his immediate exit on Friday after the 29-year-old was finally convinced by doctors that his chronic shoulder issue was a career-ending one.
Debuting in 2010, Morgan played 168 NRL games, starring in North Queensland’s historic 2015 premiership.
He is midway through a lucrative contract and is set to receive a multi-million dollar payout after the troublesome injury flared again in the second round this season.
Michael Morgan plays in his last NRL game against the Penrith Panthers (above).
Michael Morgan, with partner Brianna O’Toole, was the star of one of the game’s best-ever grand finals when his North Queensland Cowboys defeated the Brisbane Broncos in 2015
‘This is not the way I envisioned my career finishing, but I’m retiring knowing I gave myself every opportunity over the last 12 months for my shoulder to be strong enough to continue playing,’ Morgan, who played 12 times for Queensland and Australia, said.
‘Unfortunately, the end result was out of my control.
‘Even though I’m hanging up the boots at 29, I’m extremely proud of everything I achieved over the course of 12 seasons as an NRL player.’
The playmaker’s flick pass to set-up Kyle Feldt’s try to level the scores after the fulltime siren in the 2015 grand final will live long in the memories of Cowboys fans, while he also starred as they made a remarkable run to the 2017 decider.
Cowboys boss Jeff Reibel said his off-field impact had been just as crucial.
‘His leadership around our club and his care for not only his teammates, but everyone at the Cowboys has been inspiring,’ he said.
‘His toughness and tenacity to be able to endure what he has over the last couple of seasons should be admired – he has looked under every last rock and has gone through a lot of pain to reach the point he has today.
‘Michael Morgan will be remembered as one of the greatest to ever take the field for the North Queensland Cowboys.’
A pensive Michael Morgan sits sideline during the Round 3 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans on March 28th – he was forced to retire on Friday