Drive, determination and resilience: Jansin Turgut discusses remarkable return to professional game

Josh McAllister
Jansin Turgut

Former Super League forward Jansin Turgut defied all odds to make his professional rugby league comeback for Bradford reserves over the weekend against Hull.

Turgut, now aged 27, was told he would never play the sport again after an attempt to take his own life in Ibiza back in 2019.

The life-threatening fall from a car park saw him break every bone in his face, both legs, his pelvis, hip and wrist.

And he recalls conversations with those closest to him about wanting to return to the sport where he played professionally between 2015-2019 for Hull and Salford. 

“I remember having a heated debate with my stepdad because I was adamant I will and I would get back to the top,” Turgut told Love Rugby League.

“He kept reminding me I had major breaks, lost over four stone in body weight and hadn’t even learned to walk yet.

“He was looking out for my best interests and didn’t want me to be let down thinking I could do something that wasn’t possible. 

“Regardless of what anyone told me I knew I had the drive, determination and resilience to make sure it happened. 

“For myself, because rugby had been cut short which was against my plans. For my family, having to see what I went through almost losing everything including my life and for anyone else who is suffering with mental health to see that even against the odds you can come through the other side and beat it.”

Jansin Turgut makes professional return for Bradford reserves

Turgut was named at starting prop for his professional return for Bradford reserves, going on to fall to a 62-12 defeat to a Hull side that included the likes of Jamie Shaul, Darnell McIntosh and Kane Evans.

It’s another step in the right direction for Turgut, with the potential of stepping up into Bradford’s first team in the Championship. 

“It felt really good to be playing at a professional level again,” Turgut said. “Especially to test myself amongst lads that are Super League standard and others that are full-time.

“I haven’t played for six or seven months but I felt good out there. A solid first performance.

“It was alway going to be a big test and I was unsure how long I’d be expected to play having only training four or five times. 

“But I played 75 minutes in the middle at 13 and felt good. The first team coach was down watching. He had told me after the game that he asked me to be taken off. He’d seen enough and was pleased with my performance.

“I love rugby and that’s why I play it and I enjoy putting my body and mind through it.

“Any rugby league player will tell you how hard it is physically and mentally. From the training, to missing friends and family events due to commitments, to the muscle soreness for days after you’ve played a game. 

“We do it for the love of the sport.

“Getting back playing to a professional level has always been my goal too, even whilst laid in hospital being told I won’t be able to play again.”

Turkish delight

Jansin Turgut Turkey
Photo: ChasingRoos

Turgut was born and raised in Hull but is of Turkish heritage through his father’s side of the family. He has won four caps for Turkey since making his international debut in 2018.

The 27-year-old feels privileged to represent his Turkish roots, and wants to do it again soon.

He said: “It’s an amazing honour being able to represent my heritage and play at an international level.

“I stay in touch with the team and the lads so when there’s something coming up I would be hoping to in contention to play.

“The Turkish community are very loving and family orientated so it is very welcoming being with the group.

“Pride and passion is embedded in all Turkish people I think so the ambition to win and be successful is always high.”

The boxer

Turgut loves his rugby league, but he is also a keen boxer. He says he’d even like to follow in the footsteps of other professional rugby league players who turned into professional boxers after their playing careers.

He added: “I love boxing, it’s a big passion of mine.

“My dad used to box and I remember him taking me to the gym when he trained and sparred. I joined St Paul’s boxing gym at six-years-old but the days clashed with rugby and that was the route I chose.

“Hull has a really good talent pool for boxers professional and amateur. One of my close friends Sonny Taylor is a professional boxer and I train with him when I can and go to the fights to support him.

“I’ve seen that some rugby players in the NRL have had boxing bouts in the off-season against other players, I remember years ago watching Radders (Lee Radford) and a few other legends in a rugby boxing event at Hull Ice Arena. They should bring that back it would be entertaining.

“There’s also the likes of Paul Gallen and Sonny Bill Williams who turned pro after their career. It’s definitely something I’d like to do.”

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