Rugby League legend Sean Long was officially unveiled as a Preston Grasshoppers player last night, signing a contract until the end of the 2011-12 season.
The iconic ex-St Helens man, the only player to win the coveted Lance Todd trophy as Man of the Match in the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley on three separate occasions, revealed how quickly the move came about.
"I was speaking to Karl Fitzpatrick who is the assistant coach here, and I said I thought I'd retired a bit early. Obviously I got the all-clear from the doc with my shoulder and, from that initial conversation, it's amazing how fast it's all come about."
Longy is a late-starter in the 15-man code - aged 35 he revealed his only Union experience came with St Helens in the Dubai Sevens of 2004, and a cross-code fixture against Sale Sharks in 2003!
When quizzed on what position he might play, Longy said: "Well, I've got number 12 on my back but I'm not too sure! It'll probably be centre - I know (Graham Holroyd) has been going really well at fly-half, so it'll probably be at centre."
Head Coach Dave Baldwin added, "We'll see how Sean progresses and develops in training and make a decision based on that regarding what position he'll play. But it won't be in the forwards!!!"
Sean is now eagerly awaiting getting started. "We're sitting 5th in the table at the moment and the main thing is to try and get promoted," he said. "For me personally it's just good to get on the field and enjoy myself again."
Sean's Hoppers debut will be on the 19th November against Hull Ionians at Lightfoot Green, but in the mean-time they have away trips to Hull and Otley in the next 2 weeks. Good luck to the team as they look to achieve their goal of promotion!