Hunslet Hawks veteran David March has revealed he has 400 reasons for playing on.
March, who made his professional debut for Wakefield Trinity in 1997, had been contemplating retiring at the end of last season, but a career milestone is keeping him going.
“I’ve had a big change of mind,” said March, who joined Hunslet in 2010 after two seasons at York City Knights.
“I have got 400 games coming up. I’ve got about 10 games left and I want to get that milestone.
“That would be great, because 400 games is something special. Not many players do that.”
With Hawks having dropped into the bottom tier, trips to places like South Wales, Hemel Hempstead, Gloucester, Oxford and London Skolars may not seem an attractive proposition.
But March, who has 187 Super League appearances to his name, said the prospect of a new challenge was also something he relishes. “I am looking forward to it. It is going to be a new chapter in my career.
“I got to play against Whitehaven last year and I had never played at their ground. This year we are travelling to Gloucester and Hemel and I am really looking forward to it. We’ve got a new bunch of lads and I am the oldest there. A few of them look up to me and I am really looking forward to getting out there with them. I love playing the game and it is not always going to be there.
“It is the best sport in the world and I want to keep playing it for as long as I can. I will never lose that love for it, even when I finish playing.”
March’s twin brother, Paul, had spells as coach at York and Hunslet and is now in charge of Keighley Cougars.
David can’t see himself following in those footsteps. He watched last week’s trial game defeat at Featherstone Rovers alongside team boss Barry Eaton, but ruled out a move into coaching. “It’s not for me. I do a bit around the club now with the younger lads and, once I pack in, I’ll still follow rugby but my family have suffered for the last 14 or 15 years.
“I have enjoyed the last few seasons and that has been different for me, after training full-time. I have been working and playing, but once I pack in playing that will be it.”
Hawks will be among the title favourites and March is keen to go out on a high, if it proves to be his final season.
“We’ve got a good side,” he said. “We’ve kept a few from last year and we are looking well in training. It isn’t going to be easy, there’s going to be 10 tough sides in the league and we’ll need to put in a decent performance every game but, hopefully, we can get promoted at the end of it.”
March, who spent a decade at Wakefield, is currently on Hawks’ injured list, but expects to be fit before their league opener at Hemel Stags on March 2.
“I dislocated and broke my thumb against Sheffield in the next to last game of last season. I ended up playing against Featherstone in the last game because we needed to get something out of the game.
“It probably made it a bit worse than it was, playing in that game. I have a scan on January 16 and aim to be back to play against Leeds on January 26.”
The draw for the first round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup will take place tonight, live on BBC Radio Humberside between 6.30 and 7.30pm.
Ties will be played over the weekend of February 1 and 2 and teams in the draw include Dewsbury Celtic, East Leeds, Hunslet Warriors, Lock Lane, Milford, Normanton, Oulton, Shaw Cross and Leeds Metropolitan.