bright spark Brett Delaney was aiming to defuse Castleford Tigers today – after lighting up the Jungle as part of his bid to ensure he has a skill after rugby.
The Leeds Rhinos forward has taken the first steps towards learning a new trade by taking part in an electrician’s course, which was held at Tigers’ home ground.
Delaney’s place on the course – also attended by players from other Super League clubs – was arranged by Rhinos’ player welfare boss Barrie McDermott.
“When I was at Parramatta I was on the Jets programme,” the second-rower said of a similar initiative from his time in his native Australia.
“I worked on the grounds, as a green keeper, but I wasn’t that interested.
“Then two years ago, when I went home, my mate is a sparky and I worked with him for a few weeks.
“It was really good. His missus was pregnant, so the only time I could hang out with him was working.
“I grafted with him for a few weeks and when I got back Baz got me and Bails [now-former Rhinos forward Ryan Bailey] on this electrician course.
“I have just done Level One, over at Cas. It was all practical and I really enjoyed it.”
Delaney added: “It was with Super League lads, from other clubs.
“Once a week, on a Tuesday, we went over to Cas to do that, with a guy who came over from Warrington University.”
Others on the course included Hull KR’s James Donaldson and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ ex-Leeds prop Nick Scruton.
“It was all pratcical – apart from an English and maths test, just to see where we were at,” Delaney said.
“Other than that, it was really good.”
Now Delaney reckons more Super League players should be encouraged to learn a trade, particularly those who left school early and do no have accademic qualifications.
“Back home I was fortunate enough to come through at Parramatta,” he said.
“Before you go full-time you had to work and do an apprenticeship.
“That was something [coach] Brian Smith introduced.
“Tim Smith [now at Wakefield] did it and Weller [Hauraki, the ex-Leeds and Castleford forward, now with Salford] did it a year after me.
“I left school pretty young, at 15, so it was a bit of a shock as a kid. I had to get up at 5am, get the bus to the station and then walk and start at 7am.
“It was good, it got you to appreciate work and the real world. It is catching on over here and it’s good because rugby doesn’t last forever.
“It can be a short career and you don’t know what’s around the corner, so you have to have plan B.
“If you don’t, it will be a shock to the system. I’ve been fortunate enough to be full-time since I was 17, but not everybody gets that opportunity.
“I am 30 this year, so you have to look ahead.”
Delaney is currently taking part in a course for a qualification in physical training, but he said: “Once I have finished this one hopefully I will start my Level Two electrician’s, which lasts for two years.
“That’s at Leeds Building College, so hopefully I’ll complete that one and then I’ll be an electrician.”