IT was 249 and out for rugby league star Mark Flanagan – but his effect could be felt for some time to come.
The former Saddleworth Rangers ace – known as Flash – played his final ever match as Salford defeated Wakefield Trinity 28-20 on Friday, November 6.
After signing for Bradford Bulls as a 17-year-old, his career took him to Wigan, St Helens – where he won Super League’s Grand Final – and the Red Devils.
It even saw him play in the NRL after moving to Australia to join Wests Tigers in 2010.
But at the age of 32, he has hung up his boots. Now his main focus is the successful Pot Kettle Black coffee shop he owns in Manchester.
And now former Salford coach Ian Watson gave him the most glowing of references as the loose forward bowed out, ending it all by leading his team-mates in their victory song at Leeds’ Emerald Headingley stadium.
He said: “Flash has been sensational for us. He adds to us as a team and a club and that’s all down to him as a person.
“His personality is one where he works really hard and works really hard for his team-mates. He never quits, he never gives in.
“That was something that when I first came into the job I wanted to bring into the club.“Adrian Morley was at the club at the back end of his career and I knew we needed someone of that stature, someone players would want to respect and follow.
“Flash was that guy.
“He was at St Helens at the time and we got a whisper they might be letting him go and he was the guy we wanted to mould our club on.
“He’s done it for the last few years, and it’s been an absolute honour to work with him.”
Flanagan will still be seen at matches at Shaw Hall Bank Road – when fans are eventually allowed back into matches. Or at least his Grand Final-winning shirt will be.
For that remains in a frame on the wall at the clubhouse named after his father, Terry.
Watson, however, suspects he may not be lost to the game at all and a television role may be in the pipeline.
He added: “I think Flash could coach, do whatever he wanted. I think he would be outstanding on Sky Sports!
“He speaks sense, he’s a really clever guy. I think he can be a great ambassador for the game.”
On the way to retirement, Flanagan fitted in a Wembley appearance as Salford agonisingly lost the Challenge Cup final 17-16 to Leeds Rhinos.
There was some Saddleworth success, though, as Austerlands’ James Greenwood charged over for one of the Red Devils’ tries.