Eleven years after his professional debut Rob Parker has finally returned home.
The 30 year old is equally effective at prop or second row originally and came through at Leigh East before joining Bradford Bulls at an early age. Parker played against the Australian Schoolboys for Great Britain Academy in 1999 and made his Super League debut against St Helens during the 2000 season. He played 4 Super League games before his 19th birthday and was loaned to London Brocos in 2001 where he made an impression in 9 games.
Upon his return to Bradford he became a first team regular and stayed with the Bulls until the end of 2005. This was a good period for Bradford and Parker sampled success in the shape of the 2003 Challenge Cup Final and was part of the Bulls 2004 Grand Final team that was pipped by Leeds. During this time, international calls also came for Parker. He was summoned into an England ‘A’ side that took Australia all the way in prelude to their Ashes series with Great Britain and remained part of that same England side which lifted the European Cup with a crushing 68-6 win at Warrington. He returned to the England Squad in 2004 and played a further three matches including the final against Ireland which was played at the new Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington.
Ironically for Parker, his next career move took him to Warrington and he was a popular member of the squad for three seasons before he linked with Salford for 2009. Last season saw him fall out of favour at the Willows but a mid-season loan move to Castleford galvanised his efforts and Leigh Centurions feel that Parker still has lots to offer.
Centurions Chief Executive Trevor Barton said, “The club are delighted to welcome a player and person of Rob’s calibre and we are all looking forward to his debut. He has played his entire career in Super League up until this point and we are pleased he has chosen to join us at the Sports Village.”
“The club are once again indebted to the LISA organisation who have come to our aid in helping secure Rob. Without their valuable input we would not have been able to put the deal together.” Club Chairman Keith Freer added.
More information about the Leigh Independent Supporters Association can be found on their website: http://www.leigh-isa.org.uk/