SHAUN LUNT says he is happier than he has been in a long time at Batley Bulldogs after making his surprise switch to the club last month.
The 32-year-old former England international was a Super League champion with Leeds in 2012 and has also played in three Challenge Cup finals in a stellar career.
He has decided to return to part-time rugby and signed a one-year deal at the Bulldogs, where he has a smile on his face again after a hugely challenging period in his life.
Lunt contracted meningitis and sepsis in 2018 before recovering to return to rugby in March this year, and he says that he is feeling good again physically and mentally.
“I’m feeling great. The last 12 months have been very challenging but now I’m feeling great and I’m ready for that new start,” he said.
“I’ve been enjoying work as well and it just fits better because my wife has sacrificed so much over the past 10 years for me to play rugby and I’ve had to be a little bit selfish in the best possible way.
“Now that my wife is working more I can back her, and with Batley and my job with Signature Resin Floors it just works better for family life.
“I’ve still got a few miles left in my legs yet so I didn’t want to come at the end of my career and just take a wage, I wanted to come and hopefully pass my experience on to the lads, and I’m going to be learning from them too.
“When I’m walking round I’ve got the biggest smile on my face that I’ve had for a long time, so I’m really happy.”
The hooker says that the Championship, in which he played for Castleford and Workington at the beginning of his career and captained Hull KR to promotion from in 2017, is a greater physical challenge than Super League.
“It’s a lot tougher,” he said. “The lads that you’re playing against, it’s very deceiving how strong they are. The game is not as quick but it’s definitely tougher and more physical.
“But I’m from the Championship, I was very fortunate to go full-time and have a very good 10 years at that level but I’m as happy here as I have been at any other time in my career.
“This is no disrespect to full-time players, but I’ve got more respect for part-time players because they’ve got to work all day long and then come and train as well. They’ve welcomed me with open arms and even though it’s early days, I feel a part of it so I’m really happy.”