Sheffield Eagles’ new signing Rob Worrincy admits he has endured a difficult seven months - but can’t wait to get back on the rugby field.
The 29-year-old was found guilty of breaching betting rules by the RFL in March and banned from competitive action for six months, later increased to nine on appeal.
Following the appeal, he came to a mutual agreement with his club Halifax to end his stay in West Yorkshire, gave Eagles boss Mark Aston a call and subsequently rejoined his old club.
Worrincy said: “I have a lot of respect for Mark. He gave me my first opportunity and brought out a lot of attributes in my game that I still have today.
“When I realised I wasn’t going to be at Halifax anymore the only place I wanted to go was Sheffield. A few other clubs were interested, but I have happy memories here.
“It has been a turbulent seven months. I have done a lot of maturing in that time and I have learned a lot about the game. I’ve experienced a side of the sport I never wanted to, but it has given me more determination and more hunger.
“When you have something taken away from you, it makes you realise what a good thing you had in the first place. There aren’t many trades you can enjoy as much as playing rugby league.”
Worrincy is under no illusions about the comments he is likely to receive from supporters on the various terraces around the Championship, but admitted: “Throughout my career, for one reason or another, I’ve had grief from fans. Whether it be the Eagles fans giving me a bit of jip when I signed for Halifax, or other supporters giving me stick for hairstyles or the way I play the game.
“They’re entitled to their opinions; it’s really up to them what they feel. All I can do is play to the best of my ability every week. Once I’m out there and playing, I’m not really too concerned if I’m getting a few boos.
“It’s part and parcel of the game and to be honest that sort of stuff usually drives me on a little bit more. If it comes, it comes and I just have to try and use it as a motivating factor to do well.”
Despite the long lay-off, Worrincy is confident that, with a full pre-season under his belt, he will be up to speed by the time next season kicks off - and, with the pathway to Super League open for the first time in eight years, he is excited to help the Eagles have a tilt at returning to the top-flight.
He added: “I’ve been playing a bit of rugby union whilst I’ve been banned. It might take me a little while, but at the start of pre-season we’ll all be at a similar level.
“I might just have a bit more ring-rustiness.
“Scott Turner and Misi Taulapapa have made those wing spots their own. The last two or three years they have been very successful, so it’s up to me to challenge for a place in the side.”