ROCHDALE Hornets have appointed recently retired player Anthony Walker to the club’s coaching team, as the Hornets make him a development coach.
Walker who played for St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Rochdale Hornets, Whitehaven and the Dewsbury Rams. The Wales forward had revealed on social media that he had to retire from the game due to an abnormality on his brain.
On ending his career due to a medical condition, he said: “It was really hard to take, especially finding out the day before I was supposed to go to Australia with Wales.
“I struggled the first day or two, but then I realised I have a nice family at home and there is more to life than rugby. My career was going to come to an end at some point, mine was just about seven years short. It was tough thinking you’re never going to put your gum-shield in and boots on ever again.
“I enjoyed my rugby with Rochdale and I’d hit some form, so I wanted to go back full-time if I could have, all good things come to an end though.”
On joining the club as a coach, Walker continued: “I spoke to Alan (Kilshaw) and Rammy (Dave Ramsbottom) when I found out I wouldn’t be playing anymore, because I just wanted to stay involved in the game.
“I think it’s just the dressing room and the banter with the lads I would have missed more than the playing side. I’ve been coaching at Blackbrook for a couple of years now, and I always thought the next step in my coaching career would be in the professional game rather than six lads turning up at training.
“I’m young to be a coach so I’ve got many years of coaching ahead of me, but I just want to progress and learn and one day be an assistant, and so-on.”
Hornets head coach Kilshaw was pleased to have Walker join his coaching staff, especially after the traumatic news he had received.
“When any player is forced to retire due to injury it’s very unfortunate, however Anthony can look back on his career with great pride. He has played for his hometown club and contributed to successful seasons at Wakefield, Rochdale and Whitehaven.
“We have now put steps in place to help him with the next stage of his career, with him doing some community work for the foundation and coming onto the coaching team as a development coach.
“We are all very grateful for the support and care he has received by a number of different people, including the medical team at Rochdale, RL Cares and our player welfare manager Dave Ramsbottom.”