Welcome to my Testimonial. I can’t quite believe it. This coming year is all about having fun and meeting the people who have supported me through my time at Warrington, sharing memories.
We have a few different events to look forward to and will be raising money for two deserving charities too in the Wolves Foundation and The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust.
I started my Rugby League career late on, I made my debut at the age of 20, so playing professionally for so many years, lifting Challenge Cup trophies and League Leaders shields really is something I never thought I’d do.
I always said I’d never play for a Lancashire club as I’m a Yorkshireman through and through. Yet here I am living in Warrington, both my girls Cheshire born and bred and 10 years at the same club.
Time for a little bit about me. Born and bred Leeds lad, brought up by an inspirational single mum with my two older sisters (which explains why I’m quite girlie and feminine!) I had great upbringing and couldn’t have asked for anything more. It’s weird that I ever got into sport really as I was forever having dance-offs with my sisters; I did gymnastics with my middle sister and cheerleading. I dipped my toe in a lot of things when I was young. Football and Rugby Union too of course.
My school in Leeds was all Rugby Union so I represented them, Bramley Phoenix and the Yorkshire youth sides but Rugby League was brought into my life when the Burgess brothers’ mum was my head of year at high school and I had a taste of playing for Stanningley. But it was a scout at a game when I played for Bramley Phoenix that gave me my first shot. I signed for Bradford Bulls on trial in the Under 21s set-up under Phil Veivers and Steve McNamara before moving on to Wakefield where I spent four great seasons. Then came to move to Warrington.
I’d worked with Tony Smith at England in 2009 for a mid-season test in France when he heard a lot about me being a bit of a rebel (laughs). When he got the job at Warrington he approached Wakefield who agreed the move. It’s probably the best thing I could have done for my career, the things I’ve now won and achieved speak for themselves.
My career highlight has to be that first try at Wembley in 2010. It was my first season at Warrington, playing against my home town team (a team who when I had a trial with them said I was too small to play). To go out and score the first try in front of the Rhinos fans was special, soaking in all the boos!
Away from the game I spend my time running round after my two beautiful girls enjoying family time. Starting a family and becoming a dad was something I was always passionate about doing. I’ve done the nappy changing and now I’m ready to be that embarrassing dad.
I’ve also started playing golf not that I’m any good, but I am trying. And for the last couple of years I’ve also been training to be a barber so it’s pretty much all go!
As a player I hope you, the fans, can see how I’ve grown over my years at Warrington, into a player who can now pass! In years to come it would be an honour to have people around the town talking about me and comparing upcoming players to me, remembering some of my records.
Warrington is a great community to be a part of and hopefully you enjoy having this happy chappy from Yorkshire in your midst always ready to say hello. I’m in a privileged position as I’m doing my hobby, something I enjoy, as my job. It’s important to me to now give something back.