Player by day, PT by night: Inside the busy lifestyle of Leigh Leopards’ Dan Norman

Drew Darbyshire
Dan Norman Leigh Leopards

Photo courtesy of Leigh Leopards

Leigh Leopards powerhouse Dan Norman can’t wait for the Super League season with his new club – and he’s also revealed a burning passion away from the sport.

The Ireland international has just come to the end of pre-season preparations with his new club Leigh, linking up with the Challenge Cup winners on a two-year deal in the off-season from St Helens.

At just 26 years of age, Norman still has plenty of years left in his professional rugby league career – but he has already got a plan in place for his future beyond his playing days.

Norman is a qualified personal trainer and currently runs a successful online coaching business that occupies his time away from the rugby league field.

“I do online coaching, I started that in lockdown helping people get in shape for holidays and that kind of thing,” Norman told Love Rugby League at Leigh‘s media day.

“I’ve got a real passion for that as well, it’s satisfying helping someone unleash their full potential with their health and physique, I enjoy doing that away from rugby. It kind of takes my mind away from rugby and it’s something I want to go into when I finish playing, I just want to keep growing that.”

Norman, who hails from Warrington, came through the academy ranks at Widnes Vikings, where his passion for physical fitness and mental well-being first started.

“I’ve always played sport and my family are very into training and the gym,” he continued.

“I came through at Widnes, and they were very big on how fit and strong you were in that period.

“I had some great role models like Hep Cahill, he was someone I looked up to with how he looked after himself and how he applied himself in training and how applied himself away from training. He was a real big role model for me, so I’ve just kind of carried on from that really.”

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Dan Norman on how time at St Helens can help him become a Super League regular at Leigh Leopards

Norman has spent the last three seasons with St Helens, making 21 first team appearances in the Red V whilst enjoying loan spells at Salford Red Devils, Swinton Lions and Leigh.

Although the hulking front-rower, who stands at 6ft 5in and weighs 109kg, didn’t play as much as he would’ve hoped for at Saints, he says his grounding in a champion environment has helped shape him to hopefully become an established Super League player with the Leopards.

“They’ve been the best team the last few years, achieving history with the World Club Challenge and then the four-peat, so it was amazing to be a part of it,” Norman told Love Rugby League when reflecting on his time at Saints.

“They’ve got some world class players there in a good system so I think it’s put me in good stead pushing forwards now to bring those good habits here and kicking on with my own career.”

“It’s been good (here at Leigh), it didn’t really feel like joining a new club because I’d played here on loan a few times and I already knew all the lads anyway, so it wasn’t like going to a new club if that makes sense. It’s been good, they are a good set of lads here and we have good craic with the coaching staff.

“I just want to keep improving. I’ve still got loads left in me and I’ve still got a long way to go, so I just want to keep improving and try to build on what the boys achieved last year and hopefully go one step further.”

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Representing Ireland at the Rugby League World Cup

Norman was born and raised in Warrington and is of Irish heritage through his grandfather, making his international debut for Ireland in the Rugby League World Cup just over a year ago.

“I’m a Warrington lad and I’m of Irish heritage through my grandad, who lives in Canada now, he’s a Canadian citizen now,” Norman said.

“He’s from Ireland and I represented him and my Irish side of the family, and that was a really good experience as well to be part of the World Cup. We had a good crack there and it was an amazing experience.”

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