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Friday, 22 May 2015

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Jackson looks forward to challenge as he signs up for Haven

LONG-TIME Super League star Paul Jackson is not expecting an easy ride after dropping to the Championship for the first time with Whitehaven next season.

Paul Jackson

The former Castleford, Huddersfield and Wakefield prop, whose signing was announced this week, is expected to be a key forward for Haven on their return to the second tier. And he is ready to step up to the plate.

“It’s going to be tough and I’m looking forward to it,” said Jackson, who returned to top-flight action this term following 10 months injury on the sidelines after aggravating a finger injury playing for Castleford in last season’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds.“We were short of players for the Challenge Cup and I was advised against playing by my surgeon and others, and it ended up costing me.“It probably cost me my chance of playing Super League this year, but I’ll take it as it comes. He said: “I’ve still got plenty of life to go and still feeling good. I’ve not played that much rugby this year as I’ve had a couple of operations. I was not really in Ian Millward’s plans this year and didn’t get as much rugby as I would have liked, so I’m pretty fresh.”

Leeds-based Jackson, 34, will travel to training with new team-mate Jamie Rooney, as he adapts to life after Super League.

“I’m not going to be full-time any more, so I’ll be working through the day and training at night,” he said. “That will be totally different. I’ve been full-time for 15 years now so it is a bit of a transition. I have to get used to it, and it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”

Haven’s Vice Presidents’ group made a financial contribution to help secure Jackson’s signature and he will attend the latest VP night on Friday, when Gary Broadbent is inaugurated in to the club’s Hall of Fame.

Coach Dave Woods has high hopes for the new signing, though won’t pile any pressure to perform on his shoulders.

“I spoke to a lot of people about him and they all said the same thing, that’s he’s professional and works hard. He will do a job for us.” said Woods, who does not expect the prop’s switch to part-time to be a formality.

“It’s never easy. It’s hard when you have been in a full-time environment and there are little things you take for granted. You have to adapt, and I’m sure he will. We will help him ease in to it.”

Meanwhile, prop Paul Cullnean generously shared the plaudits after he was named in the Championship One All-Stars team this week.He was an ever-present for Haven this season, only his second in the pro ranks after a successful amateur career with Kells. And his call-up to the mythical Dream Team came as a shock.

“I was surprised but honoured,” said Cullnean. “If anyone prop-wise was going to get in, I’d have thought it would be Dave Houghton.

“To finish the year with a personal honour is great, but it is not just down to me. There’s my family, the players, coaching and backroom staff.“So many people help you through the year, including the medical staff, who keep you fit. There’s a multitude of folk.”After flourishing in the third tier, Cullnean is keen try his hand in the Championship for the first time next term. He was joined in the All-Stars team by Haven winger Craig Calvert, the club’s top try scorer.

This week’s Pride of Five £100 winners are: J Henry, Parton, with ticket number 3,598; B Waddington, Richmond, 181; G Burns, Mirehouse, 2,793; B Courtney, Frizington, 1,869; S Cross, Weddicar Gardens, Cleator Moor, 515


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