DONCASTER Rugby League Club’s long-serving winger Dean Colton has announced his retirement from the professional ranks.
He confirmed his decision following the club’s success in the Championship One Grand Final at Warrington.
He missed out on playing in the semi-final and final as Dons’ boss Tony Miller elected to go with Tom Hodson, who was also the first choice goal-kicker, after goal-kicking stand-off Paul Cooke was ruled out for the season.
“I was obviously disappointed not to play in the final as it would have been a perfect way to finish my career but it didn’t affect my decision,” he told The Star in an exclusive interview this week.
Colton, aged 29, joined the club from Toll Bar Juniors, who he joined as an eight year-old, and apart from one season with Featherstone Rovers. has played for the Dons for a decade.
His long service was recognised by the Rugby League and he was granted a three-month testimonial, which ran for the first three months of the season. Originally signed by the then head coach St John Ellis as a half-back, he was converted to a winger by the former Great Britain winger.
“I owe a lot to Singe; he gave me my first chance and he took a bit of a liking to me,” recalled Colton.
One of the quickest players outside the top flight during his early to mid-20s, Colton was a member of the Dons side which reached it’s first ever major final (The Northern Rail Cup) in 2008, the season they also beat Oldham in the League Two Play-off final.
“We had a good team that year but when the club’s main backer pulled out most of the players had left before the start of the following season,” he said.
Colton says the biggest highlight of his career was when he was picked to play for Scotland in the 2008 World Cup in Australia and scored a try in one of the group games.
A firm favourite with Dons fans over the years, the quiet, unassuming winger has proved a model professional.
Colton admits that he will find it strange not playing next season: “I was out of the game for six months due to work a couple of years ago and I really missed the game,” he said.
Colton will not be lost to the sport and will coach Bentley Under-8s next year. His son Blake is a member of the squad and is showing promise.
He says that there are a lot of promising young players and would like to see the Dons form an Under-18s side.
Although he has severed his links as a player, Colton says that he will continue to follow Dons’ fortunes.
“It will be a step up in class next season and the top four or five sides are very strong,” he said.
“Dons must try and keep their head above water. If they can win most home games and pick up points where they can awa then hopefully they will stay up.”