Seymour thankful for new life at Whitehaven

Brett Seymour appears to be loving life again, after finding a new rugby league home in Cumbria, at Whitehaven.

The 30-year-old half-back suffered some serious issues while at Hull FC, with him attempting to commit suicide at the Humber Bridge after a poor performance in a televised Super League game.

But he has come through his trials and tribulations, and now seems a stabler, calmer character, and a man who is enjoying life in rugby league once again.

Seymour was appointed as coach of Haven last week, following the departure of Steve Deakin for personal reasons.

Speaking before his appointment as coach, Seymour was keen to show his appreaciation for the way in which he has been welcomed into the community in Cumbria.

“It’s been awesome. Barry Richardson and some of the directors there have really taken me on board,” he said.

“They’ve helped me to be a more calm person and put things in perspective. Having a wife and kids, they’ve took her in as well and made her feel really welcome.

“It is obviously a step back as I’m winding down my career, and I just want to give a bit back to the community.

“I’m just playing it as it goes, and we’re hopefully have a good year.

“Obviously it’s a bit of a change, rugby was a bit of an unknown quantity for me up there.

“I didn’t realise how passionate the supporters and the fans are up there.

“They’re very passionate, I’ve only been in the country three years, but I never realised how passionate they were about rugby up there in Cumbria.”

Seymour was at Castleford last year, following his exit from Hull FC. He had been offered a chance by the Tigers after a spell in the Sporting Chance clinic, where he received treatment for depression.

The former Canterbury Bulldogs star didn’t make a first team appearance for Castleford, but went on to play 19 games in the Championship for Whitehaven.

He is in no doubt that he will not be returning to play in Super League.

“No, certainly not, I’m enjoying what I’m doing now, and I’m happy to give a bit back to Whitehaven after the faith they’ve showed in me,” he said.

“Looking at the Championship, the level you’ll find this year is quite close [to Super League] in some respects, obviously not the full-time training.

“But you’ll see that teams can definitely hold their own.”

Seymour belives that the restructure of the leagues will help to make the Championship more entertaining to fans.

The teams are more level in terms of quality, while the style of officiating makes for a slower, more physical type of contest.

“It’s a really difficult competition, more so than Super League,” he said.

“Any team on their day can win the game. The top teams, like Leigh, Halifax, Bradford and London, are going to have really strong squads – they wouldn’t be out of place playing against the Super League teams.

“It’ll be really interesting towards the end of the year.

“The game is a little slower than Super League, which I think comes down to the refereeing.

“It’s more physical when it’s like that. It’s a great concept that they’re looking to do.”

As well as his rugby, Seymour has also been helping out with some of Whitehaven’s community programmes. Some of his work has involved helping local children to improve their reading.

He spoke to us at the launch of rugby league’s new Sky Try initiative, a multi-million pound investment to get 700,000 people involved in rugby league in the next seven years.

This is another aspect of life in Cumbria which the former New Zealand Warriors half-back has enjoyed.

“I love it, it’s awesome,” he said.

“I’ve been doing six weeks of reading with kids, and, although it’s not being out on the paddock with a rugby ball, you find that sort of stuff hits home more with kids, who may not know about you as a rugby player, and may not care.

“It’s having someone different to relate to, for the kids who struggle a bit, it brings them up to speed.

“I find it quite rewarding.”

Seymour is also looking forward to seeing some of his former NRL colleagues, like Fuifui Moimoi and Reni Maitua, appear in the Championship in 2015.

“I was good friends with Reni,” he said.

“He’s a tremendous team-mate and bloke to have in the dressing room. He’ll be a great addition for them, and probably that little bit of X factor they need to push on.

“I heard Fuifui rattled a few cages a few weeks back against Wigan.

“I’m not surprised at all [to see that type of signing], because you can see the ambition of what clubs are doing in the Championship, and everyone’s got a different level of ambition.

“Everyone’s got stepping stones to build on and goals to achieve, and we’re no different.

“You need to show that you’re a stable club and that you’ve got something about you.”

As for Whitehaven’s chances of success in 2015, Seymour knows that home form is vital, with so much travel involved for players in Cumbria.

“It’s got to be a fortress,” he said.

“I’ve come here to Widnes in the car, and it took three hours and I thought it was a bit of a drag.

“But we’ve got lads who doing it four times a week for training. You ‘ve got to make those games the focus, and hopefully nick a few away.”

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