It was a "sad" end, but former Raiders skipper Alan Tongue says Terry Campese leaves a wonderful legacy for the Canberra club and should be remembered by fans that way.
Campese leaves the Raiders for the British Super League after 11 seasons in first grade, three as captain and 139 NRL matches.
While Tongue admitted it was tough to watch Campese's career at Canberra fade away over the past couple of months, he praised the 30-year-old for the competitive spirit that marked his NRL career.
"I was really sad to see the way it ended up," Tongue said of Campese finishing the season in NSW Cup.
"We know Campo had struggled with injuries and probably was struggling to find his peak form, but it wasn't through lack of effort. As a former player, when you see guys not playing to their potential because of a lack of effort or attitude, that's when you get really frustrated with them. You know they're getting paid good money, but not putting in.
"Campo was different, his attitude was spot on and he'd do everything he could within his power to get back to his peak but that's the harsh reality of the game."
Campese joins former Raiders prop Mick Weyman at Hull Kingston Rovers. Tongue said Weyman was a great example of how a new club could reinvigorate a player's career.
Weyman played only 47 NRL games for the Raiders in six injury-riddled seasons, but became a state and Australian representative when he switched to St George Illawarra.
"I always thought it would have been wonderful for Campo to come back and finish off with the Raiders and play some great footy," Tongue said. "But I think of someone like Mick Weyman, who struggled with injuries, just needed a fresh start.
"I'm hoping Campo can do that, too, it's a fresh start in a new environment, a different style of footy which I think will really suit him. He'll kick on and play for a few years to come yet."
Despite being granted leave from the first month of Raiders pre-season, Campese had been training by himself.
"He was at a Crossfit gym and he was running 1200 metres like the Raiders boys were doing, just by himself down at the local oval," Tongue said. "That shows the character he is, he wasn't going to sit around, he was preparing himself like he was coming back to play in the NRL."