Halifax’s newly-signed speedster Will Sharp may have first emerged as a professional in London, but his rugby league roots lie a lot closer to his current home.
Sharp, who is expected to make his debut in Sunday’s Infirmary Cup friendly against Huddersfield at the Shay (3.0), joined Fax from Featherstone at the end of last season after a solid career that began with the Broncos and also included a second Super League stint with Hull FC.
But the 29 year old, whose family moved to the capital from Bradford when he was in his teens, is quick to point out he can lay claim to being a Calderdale junior.
“I actually played for Illingworth’s under 12s, against players like Simon Grix when he was at King Cross and Scott Murrell at Drighlington,” said Sharp.
“We lived in Bradford, but a few of my mates used to watch Halifax and I spent quite a bit of time up at Thrum Hall so I ended up playing over here as well.
“I watched Bradford a bit too, but I always preferred the atmosphere up at Thrum Hall.
“It was pretty easy to support Bradford in those days as well, I always like to go for the underdog.
“It’s quite nice to be back here actually; the club and the players have all been really welcoming and I’m enjoying myself.
“I’m still living over in Castleford, but I’m working for West End Joiners in Halifax and it’s working out pretty well so far.”
Sharp earned some rave reviews with Rovers, starring at both full back and wing as the Post Office Road club endured a difficult season which saw coach Andy Hay sacked in the summer.
But the player himself admits he is still chasing further improvements in his game under the tutelage of Fax coach Richard Marshall.
“I still think I can get better and make improvements, physically and in terms of my skills,” said Sharp.
“If you look at athletes, they continue to get faster and stronger into their 30s and that’s what I’m trying to do.
“I’m 29 and people think I’ve been around a while, but as a professional I’ve not got that many miles on the clock.
“I didn’t play for the Broncos until I was 22, so it’s not like Scott and Simon who’ve been playing senior rugby since they were 16 or 17.
“I remember watching them on TV when I was still an amateur, so to be in the same team as them now after so long is great.”
Sharp, who will be at short odds to make Marshall’s first competitive 17 in February, has already been impressed with his new teammates, citing fellow flyer James Saltonstall as a player who has caught the eye in pre-season.
“Salty’s got good skills and he’s not a typical winger; he’s not afraid to throw a pass if it’s on, he’s a natural footballer in that way,” said Sharp.
“The younger players, Jake Eccleston and Joe Martin, have been good as well.
“I like Martin; he’s evasive and really good on his feet.
“Generally, there’s a lot of competition for places in the outside backs and I’ll be just happy to make the team, whether that’s at wing or full back.”