St Helens prop Kyle Amor has lifted the lid on his future career plans – and says he’d love to end his playing days at the club.
Amor helped his side record a dramatic Grand Final victory at the end of last year, as Saints retained their Super League Crown with a last minute try against Wigan.
November also saw Amor, 33, being rewarded with a one-year contract extension that’ll see him stay at the Totally Wicked Stadium until the end of the 2021 season – the start of which has been pushed back to March 25 – and Amor isn’t resting on his laurels.
Not only is he studying part-time for a degree in Physical Education & Sports Science at Liverpool Hope University, as he prepares for life after playing, he’s also made it his mission to stay at Saints beyond 2021.
Amor, who made 16 appearances for Saints last term, said this week: “The future is looking really positive and I’m in a great position.
“My new contract at Saints takes me to the beginning of my third year at university, five months shy of completing my course.
“And, ideally, I’d love to work hard and, with an element of luck, get another 12 months on my contract and finish my career at Saints, while also walking away with a degree in my back pocket.
“While I don’t plan on hanging up my boots any time soon, it’s important I put plans in place for what comes next.
“For now I’ve just got to roll with the punches and see how things go, but it’s nice to know there’s a safety net there.”
Amor openly admits that there were points last year, with his contract running down and the season halted in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, he feared he’d played his last game for Saints.
The Cumbrian said: “I’m so proud of everything we achieved last season.
“Last year, when the season was suspended because of Covid-19, I looked at it and thought, ‘Was that game against Castleford last March, where we got beat, my last ever game for the club?’
“It was really tough. And I couldn’t really accept it. But it made me want to train even harder so that we could achieve our season goals.
“And I thought that if I could do that to the best of my ability then a new contract would look after itself, whether that was at Saints or elsewhere.
“Thankfully the club has seen fit to give me a 12-month extension, and I’m absolutely delighted.
“I’ll be 34 next year, so to still be at a top club like Saints – and be up there winning trophies, playing week in week out – is something I am immensely proud of.
“I know I can’t play forever, but I’ve just got to keep on going.”
On that dramatic Grand Final day, Amor says it’s a sporting climax on a par with Sergio Aguero’s title-clinching goal for Manchester City in 2012, or cricketer Ben Stokes’ Ashes-saving performance at Headingley in 2019.
And it’s a memory he’ll cherish as he anticipates the next chapter in his career.
Once he wraps his degree at Hope, which he’s been attending at Carmel College in St Helens, he’s eyeing coaching roles and even entertains ambitions of becoming a PE teacher.
And having begun his full-time playing career relatively late in life, quitting an apprenticeship in a printing factory to join Whitehaven aged 22, he believes young players need to be mindful of their education.
He adds: “With all the uncertainty that’s been swirling around sport because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s nice to know the degree is almost under my belt.
“I didn’t come into the game until I was in my 20s, so I’ve always known I’d need to go back into ‘normal’ work again.
“And I suppose that, like a lot of young lads, my attitude towards education perhaps wasn’t where it should have been back in the day.
“10 years ago, if you were doing a degree you were thought of as a bit of a geek – ‘What are you doing that for?’
“Now, though, there’s much more focus on player welfare and education – and I think that’s really important.
“Because, let’s be honest, only a select few of those who join the sport go on to have a decent career. And that’s hard to hear – just try telling that to a highly committed and driven 18-year-old, who perhaps refuses to even think about having something else to fall back on.
“You might even have people who say, ‘Well, you should be concentrating on training, not higher education’.
“But focusing on your education is not wasting time. It’s your Plan B.
“I’ll admit it’s been tough trying to study this year, particularly during the lockdown, but I’m glad I’ve made this choice and I hope getting the degree will help me in the future, whether that’s rising through the ranks in the game once my playing career ends, or doing something completely different.
“Whatever I do, I’ll throw everything at it.”