POWERFUL three-quarter Tom Ashton has had no hesitation in re-signing for Hunslet, having thoroughly enjoyed the last three years at the South Leeds Stadium.
Ashton, 28, remains totally committed to the Parksiders, despite living in Bury and having to make the difficult journey from his work in Stockport for training and matches.
The former Oldham and Sheffield Eagles player, who was a product of Leigh Miners Rangers before having stints in youth rugby union with Preston Grasshoppers and Sale – earning Scottish Under 20s caps along the way – has become so enamoured of Hunslet, in fact, that he secured sponsorships earlier this year, including with his employers Express Electrical Distributors, for whom he is a manager.
Ashton, who is becoming involved behind the scenes at Hunslet in marketing, said: “I was two years at Oldham and a couple of years at Sheffield after having moved around in rugby union, and I’ve just felt for a good while now that it’s been time to properly settle down.
“It’s a no-brainer to stay at Hunslet. I’ve been made very welcome here, I feel so much at home, and I’ve a great relationship with head coach Gary Thornton, which is massively important.
“I also feel a lot of loyalty to the club. Hunslet took me on despite the fact that I’d had an ACL injury, and that was really appreciated; I want to give something back, including bidding for promotion from Betfred League 1. And I’m sure that, with Hunslet, I’ll be able to make an impression on the Scotland selectors; I’d love to earn caps in Rugby League after having already done that in union.”
Thornton said: “Tommy is a big fans’ favourite with his explosive, direct running. He is a great attacking option for us with his power, and is very difficult to stop close to the line. He’s also an important and popular member of the group, and has been for three seasons now, so I’m delighted he is staying on.
“He loves it here at Hunslet and has become an integral part of this squad. He was getting back to fitness last year after a few injury problems the previous season, so hopefully he can hit the ground running when we eventually get back to playing in 2021, and be back to his best.”