HULL STALWART Richard Horne’s career will come full circle tonight when he plays his final game – against the team he faced on his debut 15 years ago.
Horne, pictured, is set to hang up his boots after Hull’s season finalé, at home to Leeds Rhinos.
His first senior appearance was in a narrow defeat to Rhinos at Headingley in April, 1999 and he recalled: “We were at Leeds against a pretty strong Leeds side.
“We had a lot of young kids in and were probably expected to have a big score put up against us, but we ran them pretty close and lost 22-18. It was a very tight game that could have gone either way and it was really enjoyable. It’s always a great atmosphere at Headingley.
“I managed to put in a decent performance at full-back and kept my spot for the following week.”
Of the prospect of finishing against Rhinos, Horne added: “It’s a nice coincidence and quite fitting in a way.
“I’m looking forward to it. We can go out and enjoy it – we’re not really playing for anything like the play-offs so the pressure’s off.
“It has been a disappointing season, but hopefully we can sign off with a decent performance.”
As well as providing the opposition for his debut, Leeds were the other team involved in Horne’s favourite match.
Selecting the finest moment of his career he said: “It’s hard to look past the Challenge Cup final in 2005.
“The best bit was probably straight after when you see just what it means to everyone – the players, the staff, the fans – and you can look around and see your family in the stands.
“We’d not really achieved anything for a long while before so to get there and finally have some silverware to brag about was so good.
“All the finals are special – the 2006 Grand Final was enjoyable when we were up against a really good Saints team and really competing until they broke us just before half-time – but Cardiff is the one that will always stand out.”
Horne is due to join Hull’s coaching staff – led by head coach Lee Radford, inset – after tonight’s game and insisted he has no regrets about his decision to retire.
“I’ve had a few injuries and have still been picking up some while carrying a few of those too,” he said.
“Weighing up my options it was do I do two years somewhere else and put my body through all that again or sit back and have a long career in coaching. I chose to do that.
“I probably will miss the competitive nature of it all each week – preparing yourself for that match, though I will be with the lads in training anyway so that sort of thing won’t be a problem.”