Jamie Peacock has insisted that while he won’t necessarily be the calibre of player he was 12 months ago, he is hoping to provide the leadership attributes he became renowned for during his playing career as he prepares for an incredible return this Sunday.
Peacock and Hull KR stunned the world on Wednesday when they announced that the 38-year-old would be coming out of retirement to help the Robins in their quest for Super League survival.
After training on his own for six weeks, Peacock trained with the KR players for the first time on Tuesday, and immediately goes into contention for Sunday’s trip to London Broncos.
And, speaking exclusively to TotalRL.com, Peacock insisted that he’s under no illusions about the size of the task facing him.
“I’d like to get another few sessions under my belt before Sunday,” he said.
“The first one went better than I expected though. I text Stevie Ward after his comeback on Friday for Leeds saying ‘it’s like riding a bike’ – and I nearly text that to myself after training for the first time here!
“Look, I’m under no illusions here. I’m not the player I was 12 months ago; I’m not that guy who has had 20 years worth of conditioning and hard work behind him right up to now.
“I’ve been in the gym for six weeks to get in some form of physical shape of course, but leadership and direction, they’re attributes that never really leave you and I’m hoping that’s where I can help the boys out.”
Peacock admitted that the decision to return to playing was not one he took lightly – despite registering as a KR player prior to July’s transfer deadline.
And he has explained how the decision came about, saying: “It all started before the deadline.
“Going into the Qualifiers we had no budget to get anyone in, we were simply unable to do it. I knew how thin the squad was with season-ending injuries and we had to plan for the worst-case scenario.
“Plan for the worst, hope for the best was the feeling. I knew if we couldn’t get anyone in then the wage I’m on here is vastly different to my playing one so we were able to get me in under the cap there.
“Low and behold the worst did actually happen; we lost to Leigh but more significantly, the injuries we got out of it were more telling for the scenario. Two or three bad ones, and Maurice Blair having to go home, put us in that situation where it needed to happen.”
And Peacock has stressed that this is not him trying to recapture his playing days – “I don’t miss playing,” he admitted – this is simply him trying to do what is right for the club who employs him.
“I spoke to my wife, we had a few discussions and then sought advice from people I know about whether I should do it,” he admitted.
“There is an argument that coming out of retirement goes against what I’m doing, but I don’t miss playing and I’ve never been desperate to get back out there.
“Simply put, this is the best way I feel I can take Hull KR forward at the moment.”