Betfred League 1 star reflects on retirement after time at Salford Red Devils and in the NRL

Amidst all the excitement of their recent play-off final victory over Doncaster, Swinton Lions also saw the retirement of much-respected forward Jack Spencer. In many ways it could not have been better scripted, especially with Jack being a Swinton lad, with him able to bow out by winning promotion and a trophy with his hometown club.

Jack’s early development of course very much centred around our community partner club, Folly Lane, where he made a considerable impact. From Folly Jack progressed to Salford Red Devils, where he made seven first team appearances. In 2012 Jack enjoyed a tremendous experience with Wests Tigers in Sidney, and indeed later he would also try his luck in France with Villeneuve, before settling back into the English game.

In 2013 Jack had a spell with Barrow Raiders, for whom he made 16 appearances, before crossing the border to join Halifax for seasons 2014 and 2015 (32 appearances). However, it will probably be his spell at Oldham for which he’ll be best remembered, as between seasons 2016 and 2021 he played some 106 times for the Roughyeds. After a couple of previous unsuccessful efforts to tempt him to the Lions, Jack finally signed for Swinton ahead of the 2022 season. He scored his only try in a Lions shirt away to Midlands Hurricanes, before completing the season on 19 appearances.

Reflecting on his final season as a professional player, Jack said, “I knew quite early on this year that this would be my last season. It’s been really hard juggling work and rugby and being a new dad. Professional rugby takes up such a lot of your spare time and not being there for my son and my partner as much as I’d like was the main factor in me calling it a day.

“I’ve loved my short time at Swinton, and everyone at the club made me feel really welcome from the very start. To finish my career with a trophy for my hometown club is the perfect ending for me. I’ve played rugby since I was six years old, and it’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve loved every minute and have been lucky to travel around the world doing what I love, but now it’s time to put my family first.”

Swinton Lions Head Coach, Allan Coleman, added, “It’s been great having Jack at the club this year. He is a born leader and winner, and he has helped us achieve our promotion goal in so many ways. He leads by example and sets the highest standards, and away from rugby he’s certainly a character and one of the good guys.

“I want to thank Jack personally for helping me so much and he probably doesn’t even know just exactly what he has contributed. It’s fantastic that a Swinton lad was able to enjoy success with Swinton Lions on which to end his playing days. We want him to stay involved in some role if that’s possible, but whatever he decides he will be missed so much by both us and the whole of rugby league.”

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