Warriors great Manu Vatuvei has revealed he's suffering from a brain cyst that will likely force an end to his professional sporting career.
The Dancing with the Stars champion confirmed it would prevent him from ever adding to his 1-0 boxing record, but admits he's still struggling to come to terms with the fact that it may also mean he'll never again lace up his boots.
"I haven't really announced my retirement or anything because I'm still in denial that I can still play," Vatuvei told NRL.com.
The 33-year-old hasn't played since 2017 when injury put paid to his debut season with England's Salford, following his 14-year tenure with the Warriors.
He had his debut boxing fight in December - which he won via knockout against Dave Letele - but was later advised to hang up his gloves for good as a result of the cyst.
"[There were] no symptoms, no nothing ... everyone had to do a [brain] scan before the fight and they found it then and tried to rule me out of the fight, but I went on with it and came out good.
"I had some fights lined up which were cancelled because of that."
Vatuvei has been in camp with Mate Ma'a Tonga this week ahead of their test against the Kiwis on Saturday, and still holds out some cautious optimism that he may eventually be able to make a return to the field.
"[Tonga camp] was a good opportunity for myself to come in and get amongst the boys again and get that feeling again. It's hard, but I'm just enjoying it at the moment," Vatuvei said.
"There's always a goal that I want to come back to the game. It all depends, I've still got some medical things that I've got to look at. Right now my mind and my heart is telling me I can still play but my body is saying no, so it's a constant battle at the moment."
SOURCE: Newshub's Stephen Foote.