Sky Sports pundit Barrie McDermott has admitted he lost a sense of connection with the game when he first hung up his boots.
The 47-year-old prop enjoyed 16-year playing career in the professional ranks with Oldham, Wigan, Leeds and Widnes.
McDermott became an established Super League star while at the Rhinos between 1995-05, earning 15 caps for Great Britain and 15 caps for Ireland in the process.
But it wasn’t all rosy for McDermott when he first retired.
He told Sky Sports’ Golden Point Podcast: “You just lose that sense of belonging a little bit because you stop walking around in clothes with the club badge, initials and squad number on.
“We all suffer with the fact that we were someone who was recognised and then not so much.
“I was involved at the Rhinos on match days (after playing) but I felt a bit of a spare part.
“I still coached and worked at the club so I was more or less crowbarred into the environment where the games where being played but I definitely lost that sense of connection that I have got back now.”
After his 11 seasons at Headingley, McDermott spent one final year at Widnes in Northern League One alongside his long-time friend Terry O’Connor.
And McDermott believes his 12 months at the Vikings was a fitting way to end his career.
He added: “I did a year with O’Connor at Widnes in the division below the top division and I loved it.
“It was just what I needed to get that last bit out of the bottom of the glass.
“I think I played 27 games. Steve McCormack was my coach, I told him when I could train and play and when I wanted to go on or come off the field, so it was just what I needed at the right time.”
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