Houston planning for retirement – but first focus is Widnes

Chris Houston has already started preparing for the next chapter of his life after announcing his retirement from Rugby League.

The Vikings confirmed their veteran forward would retire at the end of the season after 12 years at the top of the sport.

A former NRL player with St George Illawarra and Newcastle, the 33-year-old is planning on spending some time with his family for a well-earned rest.

But after that, he has aspirations to get into education and will continue to work towards that by working in schools around Widnes over the next few months.

“Like everyone else, I have a mortgage that needs to be paid and I’m definitely going to have to work,” said Houston.

“I got a teaching degree in my early days at the Dragons when I first came through, so I’m going to combine my knowledge there with what I’ve picked up over the last ten to 12 years.

“I’ve put together a bit of a programme based on wellness and mental health and I’m particularly going to target primary schools because I did my degree in early childhood.

“It’s definitely making this bit of my life easier to deal with, knowing I’ve got something to go to. There are no guarantees it will be successful, but it’s nice knowing there’s something. I do have some schools in Widnes that want to trial the programme in the next month or so.

“I’m going to roll it out, but I signed on a three-year visa and the rugby club was my sponsor, so I think at this stage we will go home.”

His time at the Vikings has been a stint full of ups and downs, with a top eight finish in 2016 followed by a year of struggle last season.

But he’s determined to finish on a high, starting with a top eight finish this season.

“Coming over the first year we were really successful at the start of the year and it was an enjoyable team to play in.

“But we had a horrid year last season. Losing Kev Brown was massive and I think that shook the place up more than people anticipated. But we scraped through, and as nervous as people get about the Qualifiers, I actually enjoyed it because there’s something hanging on every game.

“I’ve got a big responsibility as co-captain to make sure we’re doing everything we can to be in a good position. We can still make the eights and if that’s not achievable we’ll think about that then, but we’ll worry about it if it comes.”