DESPITE a scoring return to the Leigh ranks last weekend reigniting his rugby league fire, Robbie Hunter-Paul is continuing with his plans to hang up his boots at the end of this season, even if he admits his latest club are making it hard to walk away.
The 35-year-old has endured a frustrating campaign so far with the Centurions, sitting out the majority of the season with a neck injury.
But he showed glimpses of what led him to 30 caps for New Zealand as touched down for the first time this season as Toulouse were brushed aside 36-14.
And although Hunter-Paul has endured a stop-start life at Leigh Sports Village, he insists his short stay has been a good one, helping him turn back the clock.
“It was great to get my name on the scoresheet in France and get my name back in the papers after missing so much time with a neck injury,” said Hunter-Paul, speaking at the West Yorkshire Youth Games at Leeds Met University on behalf of Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week.
“Anyone who doesn’t score a try during the season has to do a pretty horrible forfeit that I won’t divulge the facts on but it isn’t nice.
“But more than that the try really reinforced in me how much I will miss the game when I walk away at the end of the season and right now I have the mind of a 17-year-old but the body of a 35-year-old.
“I have really enjoyed my time with Leigh and there is a great group of guys here that have made the decision to retire a tough one, but my wife would kill me if I back-tracked now.
“Leigh was a good opportunity for me to come and play some rugby and I am sure I will keep the smile on my face all the way until the end of the season.”
Hunter-Paul has been there and done that during his career, most famously with the Bradford Bulls when he captained them to the treble in 2003 and the 2004 World Club Challenge.
But with Leigh sitting top of the Co-operative Championship, Hunter-Paul hasn’t ruled out adding to his bulging trophy cabinet with one final swansong.
“We have had a good season so far and despite the RFL decision to deduct some points we are still sitting at the top of the league,” he added.
“I think we have what it takes to win the league this year and if we can keep the form going then we were certainly be there or there abouts at the end of it all.
“I would love to finish on a high and bringing silverware to Leigh would do just that so I will be keeping my fingers crossed.”
Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week uses the power of London 2012 to inspire children to try Olympic and Paralympic sports. Your local school could carry the Olympic Flame in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay or win tickets to London 2012 at: www.lloydstsb.com/nationalschoolsportweek