Halifax’s new half back signing Tom Gilmore has said he has been ‘shocked’ by the high standards set by coach Simon Grix and his players.
The 25 year old, a member of the England Knights squad in 2018, joined Grix’s part-time side on a one year deal after spending his entire career to date as a full-time player with hometown club Widnes.
And a month into the club’s pre-season programme, Gilmore, who takes the place of York-bound Ben Johnston, admitted he had been surprised by his experiences.
“Honestly, I’ve been a bit shocked,” said Gilmore.
“Maybe I was naive, but I was surprised by the kind of physical shape that everyone is in and the intensity of the training.
“We’re doing four sessions a week, which is only maybe one less than you’d do if you were full time, and the intensity and quality has been pretty much the same as I’ve been used to through my career.
“Simon’s done almost everything in the game as a player really, so that professionalism probably shouldn’t be a surprise.
“On a personal level, a lot changed this autumn; within the space of two weeks, I became a father, moved clubs, went part time and started working, so there’s been a bit going on.
“I feel I’ve settled in well though, I knew a few of the lads already and that’s made things easier for me.”
Gilmore, who describes himself as ‘an old school number seven’, is at a potential crossroads in his career, with injuries limiting him to a relatively modest 75 senior appearances since his debut in 2012.
But after rejecting various offers to leave the Vikings over the years, the talented playmaker said he is motivated by his new challenge.
“I realised midway through this year that I needed to get out of my comfort zone, leave Widnes and start enjoying my rugby again,” said Gilmore, who, reportedly, had turned down a Super League deal with London for the 2019 season.
“I’ve had various good offers to move over the years, but Widnes is my hometown club and I always believed we were going to get to a point where we’d establish ourselves as a Super League side for years to come.
“It’s pointless looking back and having regrets though; I got to play at Wembley with Widnes last year in the 1895 Cup and I’m just looking forward to getting stuck in with Halifax now.
“Over the years, I have picked up too many injuries and it does disappoint me a little bit when I look back and see how many games I’ve missed.
“It’s no good to say ‘I’ve been unlucky’, because it’s on me in the end and I know I need to put a run of 25 or 30 games together.
“I’m being as professional as I can be to make sure that happens next year.
“Then people will really see what I’m about.”