Mark Forster: Warrington to the core

Former Warrington winger Mark Forster has opened up about his 19-year career with the Wire, Widnes and Great Britain.

Forster debuted for Warrington in 1983, spending his whole career there apart from one season with the Vikings. The outside back also represented Ireland and Great Britain.

Forster spoke to Love Rugby League about the launch of his autobiography Wire till I die.

A homegrown product, as a teenager he played for Warrington Schoolboys and represented the town as a ballboy at the 1978 Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

He went on to score 191 tries for the club, including the one that took the Wire to the 1990 Challenge Cup final. In 1986 he was crowned the fastest man in rugby league after winning a sprint challenge at Central Park.

Now 51, Forster insisted it was good to write this book and show his grandchildren the struggle he endured at the beginning.

“When I played the stand burned down,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to get a job with the contractors and we would work on the Saturday morning and when everybody else had their dinner we’d jump over the fence, get changed and train for Sunday’s game.

“After we’d jump back over, get changed and finish the shift again.”

Forster admits being tackled by a certain Joe Vagana in his playing days was one memory which stuck in his mind.

“I remember big Joe Vagana tackling me one from one side, he hit me that hard he hit the ground and completely knocked me out whilst tearing my shoulder muscles as well,” he said.

With the 2017 World Cup just under a year away, Forster has criticised the likes of England and Scotland for taking Irish players and then not using them.

“Once they have played for Ireland the likes of England, Wales and Scotland poach them but then they don’t give them a game in the World Cup,” he said.

“We either go back to Great Britain or we play each other and the squad comes from that.”

Forster, who played 458 games for Warrington, admitted the current side is looking strong ahead of next season.

“Tony Smith has got new guys coming and Warrington guys coming back,” he said.

“Matty Blyth and Mike Cooper, who were great players have gone and learnt the trade and have now come back.”

Chris Sandow has left the  Wolves before next season and Forster believes Warrington need to stand firm on the situation.

“Warrington hold his playing badge so if he wants to play for anyone somebody has got to buy that, whether it be the player himself or the agent,” he said.

“They still need to be seen to be holding their own and get a price for Chrissy Sandow if he does play anywhere else.”

Forster believes Tony Smith has a ready-made replacement in Declan Patton.

“Dec Patton did a good enough job,” he said.

“He is 12 months older, he is 12 months more experienced. He has also played in all of the finals.”

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