FORWARD JAMES Lockwood will rejoin Featherstone Rovers in March, when he completes a two-year drugs ban.
The former Halifax packman joined Rovers in 2012, but was suspended in 2015 after testing positive for GHRP-2 (Pralmorelin) – a growth hormone releasing factor – during an out-of-competition test in November, 2014.
Now 30, Lockwood said he had always hoped to return to Featherstone.
“When I got offered the chance to come down for training here I jumped at it, as I always wanted to be playing back here,” he said.
“I am so thankful towards Jon [coach Jon Sharp] for giving me the chance to return to professional rugby.”
Lockwood admitted he has some catching up to do.
“Making the team will be a tough ask, for sure, as this Rovers side is stacked with quality and I have not played at this level for two years,” he said.
“I am training hard now, though and I will be doing all I can to force my way into contention.
“When my chance comes, if it comes, I will take it with both hands.”
Sharp said he has done his homework on Lockwood and received positive feedback.
“James first came to my attention while watching some old clips of previous Featherstone teams,” he said.
“I pointed him out as a key performer and began to ask some questions and gain some feedback from some of my colleagues.
“They had nothing but good things to say about him, his performances, his approach and his toughness.”
Sharp insisted Lockwood deserves a second chance.
“The past is the past and James is very much looking forward to the future,” he said.
“He can play a key role.
“He is a high-quality player and deserves another opportunity.
“The challenge he faces is that we have a very strong squad here and he will have to fight for his place, which will be a measure of his character and his desire to achieve.”