Hull KR hooker Shaun Lunt finally gets to scratch a seven-year itch after rejoining Leeds Rhinos

Shaun Lunt. PIC: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
Shaun Lunt. PIC: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
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GRAND FINAL-WINNING hooker Shaun Lunt always hoped to return to Leeds Rhinos, but it has taken seven years longer than expected.

Lunt was on loan from Huddersfield Giants when he played in Leeds’ 2012 Old Trafford win over Warrington Wolves.

Shaun Lunt is a previous Super League Grand Finalist - with Leeds Rhinos. PIC: Steve Riding

Shaun Lunt is a previous Super League Grand Finalist - with Leeds Rhinos. PIC: Steve Riding

Rhinos were keen to keep him on, but a proposed deal fell through and he has since had stints back with Huddersfield and at Leeds’ current relegation rivals Hull KR.

He finally rejoined Rhinos this week, on loan until the end of the season, as part of the agreement which took Matt Parcell in the opposite direction.

Lunt, 32, is available for Sunday’s visit of Catalans Dragons – the team he made his first Rhinos debut against – and said: “It has taken a while.

“It has been seven years and I’ve had some good times in those seven years, but it’s fantastic to be back and I am relishing the challenge ahead.”

Matt Parcell

Matt Parcell

Lunt revealed: “At the end of 2012 when I left we had agreed a three-year deal.

“But things happened at Huddersfield; I think Scotty Moore left, Tommy Lee left and they didn’t have a hooker so they needed me back.

“Did I think I would come back? I didn’t know, but did I want to come back? Yes.”

That task facing Lunt now is different to the one he took on during his first spell, when Rhinos were battling to get into the play-offs and had a Wembley appearance in their sights, but he admits the wrong end of the table is familiar territory.

“The last five years I’ve been in a relegation battle with other clubs,” he recalled.

“I am used to it – I think that’s why most of my hair’s coming out now!

“It’s just one of those things, you have got to dig deep.

“It is very close at the bottom, a couple of wins will propel you right towards the top and a couple of losses will put you right down at the bottom.

“It is really anyone’s game at the moment.”

Lunt was relegated with Hull KR at the end of 2016 and helped them bounce back the following year.

He observed: “Leeds have been very up and down the last few years.

“They were in the middle-eights, then they won the Grand Final and now they are back down at the bottom, but that’s just rugby.

“It is a very weird and wonderful game at the moment.

“There’s only St Helens and Warrington are really settled and Hull FC are starting to his their stride, but apart from then anyone can beat anyone.

“I’m not saying you can’t beat the top teams either, but they’re the ones who are more settled in the table.

“It is going to be a dogfight, but it’s one we as a team – and myself as a player – are looking forward to.”

Lunt is not signed up for next year, but stressed his aim is to secure a longer-term deal.

“I’d love to,” he said.

“With the horrendous year I’ve had so far - the back end of last year and then this year - I have got 10 weeks here now and I just want to get back enjoying myself and playing some rugby.

“I’ll get my head down and work hard and generally when you work hard things come off the back of it.”

Lunt battled back after being hospitalised last year with sepsis, a potentially fatal blood infection, but has had more injury woes this season.

However, despite an ankle niggle, he insisted: “I am feeling really well.

“I am fitting in pretty good too and I can’t wait to get myself back on the pitch and playing.”