Ryan Hampshire believes the opportunity to join boyhood club Wakefield sooner than he ever expected could turn out to be the perfect catalyst to revive his career.
Hampshire grew up on the terraces a diehard Trinity supporter with most of his family, but moved to Wigan as a teenager after signing professional terms with the Warriors.
Yet after subsequent spells with Castleford and Leigh, Hampshire was left fearing he would not be able to sign anywhere this season: before Trinity offered him a deal on the eve of the season. That, he told League Express, was ideal for him.
He said: “I thought I could be done, because initial talks with Wakefield broke down and I had no deal on the table.
“I always wanted to play for Wakefield but I looked at it at the back end of my career. You never really think about leaving Wigan when you’re a kid and I thought in the latter years, I’d end up here. But it’s such a perfect move for me. I grew up idolising guys like David Solomona and Jamie Rooney, so to get here now is perfect.”
Hampshire also admitted that after failing to fulfil the potential many deemed he had as a youngster, he is now craving a fresh challenge and some stability.
He said: “I left Wigan for a change of scenery and while Castleford didn’t work out, I made a lot of good friends and I grew up. A lot of people move away to grow up, but I was 16 when I left for Wigan and I came home to grow up, if that makes sense.
“Now I’m wanting some stability. I’ve been about quite a bit – this is my fifth year playing in Super League – so I’m determined to get back to what I know I can do and there’s no better place to do it than here.”
Hampshire said he had always imagined joining Wakefield – but not until the later years of his career. However, the progression the club have made under the current regime encouraged him to bring forward that dream move.
“They were always struggling and it was the kind of scenario you only ever imagine being in at the end of your career,” he said.
“But since Chris and Michael have come in, the club is moving forward so much and it’s now an exciting place to be a part of.”