The Forster Tuncurry rugby union club's big-hearted, little warrior, Thomas Harris, is grappling with the hardest decision of his celebrated career, whether to drop his boots in a bin and walk away from the game - or play on.
Last Friday, February 19 the 300-game veteran turned 40 - "the big 40!" as one alarmed admirer put it.
If it was simply a matter of considering himself, there would be no question as to what Harris would do.
But as a single parent, Tom has two children to consider - daughter Savannah, 12, and son Bracks, almost nine, ever-present spectators wherever the Dolphins play, now wishing to play their own sports.
It was understood Harris would resume in this month's Crescent Head "sevens" carnival only for club coach, Ron McCarthy, and club president, Damian Daczko, to withdraw the Dolphins from the high-speed tournament.
The body enjoyed last winter when the club took the season off.Thomas Harris
"The body enjoyed last winter when the club took the season off," Harris said this week.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure what I'll do.
"I'd like to play on, but it's hard being in three places at once with the kids."
Harris has been a model of top-quality consistency throughout his career, his awards interrupted only by one season off when he played rugby league - failing to receive his contract money - and another year when he tore his hamstring off the bone in a water-skiing accident.
Harris first captained the Dolphins in 2009 and then again in 2011, 2012 and 2013, launching their sequence of four-premiership triumphs between 2013 and 2016.
He was the club's Bruce Greensill Medallist as the club's best and fairest player in 2005, 2008 and 2019 and Lower Mid North Coast player-of-the-year in 2018.
Whatever his decision, one suspects heart will eventually rule head in the matter, and that Tom's boots will remain on the shoe stand, just in case of a Dolphins' emergency.
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