Leon Pryce joins RFL match review panel

Much of Leon Pryce’s time these days is spent watching Will’s impressive performances for Huddersfield but he is now back in rugby league himself as a newly-appointed member of the Rugby Football League’s match review panel.

“I was approached by the RFL, who wanted me to give a bit of experience from my career,” said the former Bradford, St Helens, Catalans and Hull stand-off, who retired in 2017. “It was nice to be asked.”

Pryce’s contribution might only mean a few hours scrutinising potential foul play from the latest round of matches on a Monday morning but the RFL are keen to keep their stars involved in the sport.

And for Pryce that link is important as he went through a low point in his life after hanging up his boots.

He turned to alcohol after initially finding it difficult to adjust to life without rugby league and used Sporting Chance to help get his life back in order.

“I received lot of help from RL Cares,” he said. “It’s that transitional period, being out of the game and just finding yourself again because it’s not easy.

“Once you have been in an industry for 22 years from being a boy, you have to find your way again.

“I’m working full-time and enjoying life again. I’ve no aspirations to go back to coaching, I’m quite content to watch my son play.”

READ: Leon Pryce opens up on his struggles and won’t let son Will make the same mistakes

Pryce, who had a brief spell as coach of Workington in 2019 and more recently did some work for French club Montpellier, is now working full-time in a residential care home.

“I’m looking after children,” he said. “I enjoy it. It’s good helping children that have been dealt a bad hand get back on the right path in life.”

Pryce does not expect to have any such problems with his own children as he seeks to ensure they learn the lessons from his mistakes.

Daughter Lilly, 15, is playing football at England level while Will has made such an impact in his half a dozen Super League matches for the Giants that he has come to the attention of NRL clubs.

Huddersfield coach Ian Watson is relieved his club managed to get the player signed on a long-term contract at the start of the year and Pryce is excited by his son’s potential, although he is keen not to put pressure on his young shoulders.

Pryce, always on hand to offer tips, admits he found it impossible to remain impartial while summarising for local radio as Will scored his first try against Wigan in July.

“It’s been brilliant, really exciting, not just for me, but for his whole family, his nana and granddad and aunties and uncles, his brother and sister,” he said. “He’s got a big family who go watch him.

“Obviously our family life has always revolved around rugby.

“I will always give him tips. We talk about rugby every day because that’s pretty much been our life since he was born. He’s got a very good coach but we always have our chats.

“I’ll let him do his talking on the field. My bit of advice is to just to keep his head down and keep working hard, the rest will take care of itself. I don’t want to add any more pressure to him.

“People will always make comparisons and have expectations but I’ve always told him to be his own man, to go his own way and learn from my mistakes.

“I don’t need to live my life through him, I just want him to enjoy it.”

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