Championship legend Worrincy to retire at end of season
Rob Worrincy has announced he will be retiring from Rugby League at the end of the 2021 season.
After a glittering career with a number of clubs, spanning 18 years in all, Worrincy has decided to hang up the boots and focus on life away from the sport.
A well respected character within the game, Worrincy has won a League 1 (National League 2) Grand Final with the Eagles as well as a Northern Rail Cup and Championship Grand Final with Halifax.
Discussing his retirement, Worrincy said: “It was a really, really tough decision,”
“Playing any sport in general is enjoyable but doing it professionally is something to be truly grateful of.
“I’ve enjoyed my playing career and it’s been in the back of my mind for the last couple of years that I’m coming to the backend of it.
“For one reason or another I’ve managed to talk myself out of it but now I think the time is right. With the way things have turned out, finding myself back at the Eagles, it feels like a fitting time to call it the end.
“From starting out playing as a 14-year-old lad in London, in a football-dominating area, there were never any aspirations to make it as a pro.
“I’m really, really lucky in terms of the opportunities I’ve had and there has been hard work, determination and setbacks in there too.
“Ultimately, it has been a pleasure to have made the memories and meet the people I have along the way.”
Worrincy was one of the quickest men in the sport for a good number of years, with interception tries and 100m efforts becoming a trademark.
Of the aforementioned three big victories in his career, Worrincy scored a length of the field try in the 2006 National League 2 Grand Final for the Eagles and in the 2010 Championship Grand Final for Halifax.
“Luckily, I have always had an abundance of pace so I managed to get myself in the right places at the right times,” Worrincy commented on those long-range scores.
“Sometimes I didn’t quite pull those efforts off but when I did, there were quite memorable.
“One of my first memories was that Grand Final try for the Eagles against Swinton Lions.
“From then on, it rolled on and became a thing that I tended to do from game to game!”
After departing the Eagles for Halifax the first time around, Worrincy enjoyed a very successful stint in West Yorkshire where he became a prolific try-scorer in the second tier.
Asked if he thought those years were the winger in his prime, he added: “I found myself in a really good side!”
“I started to learn the game a bit more, coming in a bit later compared to others, and I enjoyed some of my more prolific years there.
“It was a credit to some of the players there and the opportunities I got from them.
“It was a good time in my career, being in Grand Finals and playing in big games.”
A return to the Eagles for the 2015 season saw more success for Worrincy, as he played his part in a top four finish and Sheffield’s venture into the Qualifiers.
“That was really special as we had a great set of boys, with that team belief and camaraderie which you can’t buy,” he said.
“It was classed as a new era for the sport and we wanted to be a part of it. The club helped me settle in and the lads took to me really quickly.
“Playing against Super League opposition is what you want to be doing and as a Championship player, you pit yourself against the best of that division but getting that chance to step up was amazing as well.”
Since 2015, Worrincy has played for the Eagles in two separate stints as well as going back to Halifax and starring for Dewsbury Rams.
He looks back on the times he played for those clubs, for different coaches and fanbases, with fond memories: “For me, rugby league in terms of fanbases is a sport that is truly special,”
“Sometimes bad things do happen in every sport but I don’t think there is any sport where people rally around together and look after each other.
“I’ve felt a warmth from supporters at every club I’ve been at as they welcome you in and make you feel like one of their own.
“Teams like Halifax, where there is a larger base, you feel that sentiment and being in that community.
“But the smaller fanbases probably mean the most. You get people travelling longer distances in smaller numbers and take time out from their lives to support you and make you feel like you’re doing a good job.
“Supporters at the likes of Dewsbury and Sheffield cannot be underestimated.
“Although they’re not massive in numbers the impact they have is just as meaningful, if not more.”
Sheffield Eagles Director of Rugby Mark Aston lauded Worrincy for his influence during multiple spells in South Yorkshire, saying: "Rob has been a consummate professional throughout his time at Sheffield Eagles,”
"I always say that once a player leaves, he leaves and there are only a few rare occurrences I've re-signed a player after they've departed.
"We've had Rob with us on four separate occasions so he is absolutely an exception to that rule and that's a testament to just what a special individual he is.
"He is an athlete through and through, the way he trains, the way he looks after his diet and nutrition, the work he does away from the club, he's exemplary on how he looks after himself.
"Rob's a role model and mentor to so many younger players and a strong voice about the place. When he talks, everyone listens.
"He will be a loss to Sheffield Eagles and the sport but after such a long and successful career it’s time for everyone to thank him for his service to our great game.
"I'd personally like to thank him on behalf of everyone associated with the club for the efforts and determination he has given during his various tenures here.
"He gives everything 100%, a very talented man and fantastic person many should aspire to be.
“I wish him all the best with whatever life has in store next.”
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman