England international Josh Charnley admits that he came close to retirement last season before finding his passion for the game again upon his move to Leigh.
Charnley, 31, was pushed out of Warrington’s squad midway through the 2022 season, making an initial loan move to Leigh during their Championship campaign.
He was eventually a part of the overhaul at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, making the move permanently.
And Charnley says that the well-documented situation almost saw him hang up the boots, admitting he was “close” to calling time on his playing career.
He returned to the 13-man code in 2018 with Warrington from Sale Sharks, having started his career at Wigan, enjoying a successful stint.
“I was going to (retire) last year, the way it went at Warrington,” Charnley revealed.
“It really did get to me, and the way that I was treated. But the way I came into Leigh and got the spark again, there’s no chance of me retiring yet.
“This year, I’ve got the buzz back again and the way that we’re playing. It’s quite exciting.”
Josh Charnley on testimonial
Just a few months on, and Charnley has been awarded a 12-month testimonial by the Rugby Football League for the 2024 season.
The winger made his professional debut with the Warriors in 2010, and went on to score 164 tries in 172 appearances.
He also featured in the 2013 and 2016 Grand Final victories for Wigan, as well as Challenge Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2013.
Earning eight caps on the international stage for England between 2012 and 2014, he switched codes with Sale Sharks in 2016 before returning to Super League with Warrington in 2018.
There, he won his third Challenge Cup and featured in the 2018 Grand Final defeat to his former club.
“I’ve been granted a testimonial and I’m very thankful to the RFL for allowing 12 months,” Charnley said.
“I’m looking forward to getting stuck into that and see what comes of it.
“There’s a few things in the pipeline!”
Charnley compares Leigh’s camaraderie to Wigan
Charnley won promotion to Super League with Leigh last year, and has compared the squad’s camaraderie to one he enjoyed at Wigan earlier in his career.
Adrian Lam’s side are two wins from four so far this season, having shocked world champions St Helens in Round Four with a 20-12 victory. They also defeated Hull KR away from home the week before.
“The way we got wrote off at the beginning of the year, I don’t think anyone said we’d win a game,” Charnley said.
“I’ve only been in one tight team and that was Wigan many years ago and this is on par with it. We’re a tight-knit team.
“We all back each other and you can see that in the way we play and how we back each other.
“You don’t really get that in a team straight away. The way we’re working together shows how tight we are.”