Long pulls flanker by crossing codes
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Wednesday 02 November 2011
Salford have expressed surprise that Sean Long plans to combine a job on their coaching staff with a late conversion to playing rugby union.
The 35-year-old former St Helens and Great Britain scrum-half, who has never played union, has signed with Preston Grasshoppers and is scheduled to make his debut in the National League 2 fixture against Hull Ionians on 19 November.
"It's been an ambition of mine to play union and now seemed the right time," said Long, who retired after two injury-ruined seasons at Hull and took up a role at Salford.
Salford's director of football, Steve Simms, said: "We didn't know about it until yesterday. I think he just wants to have a bit of fun."
Grasshoppers' chairman, Michael Bailey, said: "Sean is a legend in rugby league and widely respected by fans of the union code. To have a player of his calibre in the team will bring a new-found confidence to our players."
Brian McDermott, who led Leeds to the Super League title last month, is on the three-man coaching shortlist at tonight's International Player of the Year awards at the Tower of London.
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