Words by Gary Carter
RUGBY league star Joe Greenwood has revealed how a trip home to Saddleworth sparked an international transfer rumour.
The Austerlands lad headed back from Australia’s Gold Coast to see mother Julie and brother James over Christmas.
Little did he know at the time but him being spotted in this country would lead to talk that he is joining Super League new boys Hull
KR, who James plays for.
There was no return home as former St Helens star Greenwood, who started his career in the junior ranks at Saddleworth Rangers, as he headed back to link up with NRL side Gold Coast Titans.
Just plenty of puzzled looks when he was asked if he is heading back to the UK.
“There’s been a lot of rumours going around but my intention is just to play for the Titans,” said second-rower Greenwood.
“That’s where I’m at at the moment. It’s always a good option, to play with my brother, but I’ve got the opportunity out here and this is what I want to do. There was just rumours on social media.
“With me going back over to see family over Christmas, it’s been more rumours that I’ve come over to finalise deals and such. I just went over to see family.
“I’ve got this year and next year at Gold Coast. It’s like, one and a half years left.
“I’m keen to see it out. It all depends, but I’m happy where I am. We’ll see what happens.”
While Saddleworth has been struggling in temperatures hovering around freezing point, the Gold Coast has been scorching in heat approaching 40 degrees.
All the while, Greenwood and his team-mates have been slogging through gruelling fitness sessions to prepare for the NRL season.
And given the choice, he knows which he would rather be in.
Greenwood, 23, added: “It’s been really hot – a massive change from the pre-season back in England.
“I think I’m slowly getting used to it. Yes, it’s been enjoyable.”
Greenwood impressed during his first season in the NRL, regarded as the best rugby league competition in the world.
So much so he was considered to be a contender to make England’s squad for last year’s World Cup.
He may have missed out but another fine season will put him in the mix to face New Zealand in the autumn.
And older brother James, who can play at prop or second row, is looking to have a good season in Super League after playing a big part in Hull KR’s promotion from the Championship.
He made a good start by scoring a try in a friendly win over rivals Hull FC and is expected to be part of coach Tim Sheens’ side now they are back at the top level.