Swinton’s Australian halfback ready to grasp opportunity with the Lions

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New Swinton Lions recruit Hayden Hansen insists he feels no additional pressure to perform despite his tag as the club’s biggest close-season signing.

The halfback has joined from Australia’s Redcliffe Dolphins, where he was captain after first joining them at the age of eleven.

His arrival puts him in a select category of players to join the Lions directly from Down Under, with the legendary Craig Bellamy among those who came before.

Despite that, Hansen insists he won’t be considering that during the season, and is ready to make an impression in the Championship.

“To be the first Australian to come over for a long time doesn’t worry me,” he told League Express.

“But it’s all the more reason to make the most of my time here.

“I’d been at Redcliffe for 13 years and I achieved a lot. But it was time for me to try something new, so it was a case of trying something new in Australia or making a drastic change and coming to the UK.

“It’s an opportunity for me to become a professional athlete again, so that was what my decision was based around.

“An opportunity like this is hard to come by and I’ll look back on my time as a player and say I did this. People think I’m so lucky and I consider myself lucky as well.”

Hansen’s move to the UK was made possible by Danny Bridge, who played for Rochdale last year and has now joined Oldham.

“Danny was playing at Redcliffe, I made some enquiries regarding how I could get to the UK and all the ducks lined up. Swinton showed some interest and it all just fell into place,” explained Hansen.

“I’ve had so many messages welcoming me. (Coach) Stuart Littler has been talking to me regularly and the captain contacted me. I was impressed because they didn’t have to do that.

“First things first, I want to play well for Swinton and look on my time as a Lion and know I gave it my all. Whatever comes from that is up to me.”