Rugby League: Paul Brearley comes out of retirement to help Hornets

Date published: 10 June 2021

Former Mayfield forward Paul Brearley has signed to Rochdale Hornets for the remainder of the 2021 League 1 season due to the ongoing injuries within the club.

Brearley, a 6' 7" back-rower, has previously featured for Batley and Halifax before leaving the game earlier this year due to work commitments.

However, thanks to a strong relationship with head coach Matt Calland and being Rochdale-based, the former Mayfield forward has agreed to join Hornets for the remainder of the season.

The club has confirmed injuries to Rob Fairclough, Jack Higginson, Ben Calland, Shaun Ainscough, Sam Freeman, Gavin Bennion, Declan Sheridan, Adam Hesketh, Jimmy Connaughton, and Dale Bloomfield.

Joe Taira missed last weekend’s game due to testing positive with Covid, while Ryan Forshaw has been suspended for six games with a Grade E Dangerous Throw charge against Coventry.

Head coach Calland said: “We’re really lucky to bring in Brearley. He fulfilled his childhood dream at getting his Super League contract with Toronto, but then that was taken away from him. 

“He has a really good business and was busy with that and had to leave Halifax and decided to retire. But I gave him a call with all the injuries and managed to talk him around into coming back to play. I know him well and he said he’s only come back through our relationship. He is a local lad and is a big, strong second-rower. He’s a leader and will be great to have around and exactly what we need at this time."

Brearley said: "I’m excited to get back playing, especially for my hometown club. I’ve got a good relationship with Matt Calland and owe him a lot through my rugby career, so it would be nice to help out and push for promotion this year."

Chairman Andy Mazey added: “Never in all my time involved  in the sport at all levels have I seen an injury situation and adversity quite like we are encountering at Rochdale right now. 

“Clearly some of the results and performances haven’t been great or to the level that Matt or any of us would expect and nobody is making any excuses, but clearly we are doing it tough right now. What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger though and our luck will change at some point so we must stick together, roll our sleeves up and keep working hard. 

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our loyal supporters who have shown a real understanding of the situation as together we navigate these choppy waters.”

Hornets travel to the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium this Saturday (12 June) to face Barrow Raiders in the Betfred League 1.

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