Carl Ablett’s View from the Pitch: JP’s shock return to action can only inspire Hull KR youngsters

Jamie Peacock
Jamie Peacock
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SOMETIMES SOMETHING occurs in rugby league that makes you stop and say “wow!”

That’s what happened this week when I heard about Jamie Peacock coming out of retirement to play for Hull KR.

I played alongside JP for 10 years and I’d like to think I know him quite well, but I never saw that coming.

I got a good insight into his mindset last year, I saw what he was like after games and, chatting to him, I know how determined he was to make a go of life after playing.

So I was surprised he has decided to play again, because the way things ended for him last year – being part of the treble – was such a fairytale.

He invested an awful lot into doing something historic and it was a great note to finish on.

But you are a long time retired and JP knows his body and what he is capable of better than anyone.

He is the sort of character who is full on with everything he does and he never holds back.

For him to make this decision he must be convinced he can make an impact and that it is the right thing to do.

Things have evolved since last year and, as head of rugby at Hull KR, obviously he feels he has a responsibility to the players there and the club.

JP is somebody who is used to making things happen.

There were times when he dragged us out of tough situations through sheer determination and will to win.

It can’t be easy going from that to a behind-the-scenes role.

I don’t know exactly what his job there involves, but I would imagine, as head of rugby, that JP can have an influence on recruitment and the culture at the club, but what he can’t control is what goes on during training and in matches.

I think sometimes people underestimate how smart JP is, but he reads the game really well and, obviously, he feels he can give Hull KR something they are missing.

They had a bad result against Leigh last week and it looked like they picked up a couple more injuries.

Maurice Blair has had to go back to Australia for personal reasons so they are down to the bare bones.

They have got three games coming up they need to win and JP’s involvement could be what makes the difference.

I think he is going to find it difficult physically.

He hasn’t played for almost a year so his body will have to get used to the impacts you take in a game, but I saw him not so long ago and he is obviously still in very good shape.

JP is somebody who looks after himself and stays fit and, from what I have read, he has been training on his own for a while, so he will be okay.

I think the big thing he will bring to their team is his presence.

He is an inspiring character to play alongside and I think their young players will get a lift just from being in the same changing rooms and on the pitch alongside him.

He has got three games in front of him and he can give them everything he has got.

They are in a tough situation now, so I don’t see how they can lose from having JP in the side.

It seems like JP is already stamping his mark on the club off the field.

It was a brave decision to drop one of their most influential players, Albert Kelly, for last week’s game.

As it turned out, they lost the game, but – without knowing all the facts – I think it was the right thing to do in the medium and long-term.

All clubs have rules and their way of doing things and when you are part of a team you have to stick to those.

Apparently, Albert Kelly arrived back late from a trip home to Australia and missed preparations for the Leigh match.

All the other players will have been looking to see what the club would do about it and there could have been repercussions if they had let it go. You can’t have different rules because somebody is a big name or a key player.

If a young player had been late for training he would have been dropped, so the same has to apply to a senior man.

The decision won’t have been taken lightly, but having come through a good environment at Leeds, led by Kevin Sinfield, I am a big believer in team discipline and doing things right.

If you do things right off the field, you tend to get them right on it as well.