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Ex-Bradford Bulls star reveals family difficulties growing up

Former Bradford Bulls star Stuart Reardon was once rated as one of the greatest wingers in Super League.

With almost 100 appearances to his name for the Bulls in three different spells as well as nearly 50 appearances for the Warrington Wolves, Reardon’s name is well known in both West Yorkshire and Cheshire.

The winger won the 2003 Super League Grand Final with Bradford, scooping up the Harry Sunderland Trophy in the process for a man-of-the-match performance.

A World Club Challenge victory over the Penrith Panthers followed in 2004 before a Grand Final loss to the Leeds Rhinos in the same year somewhat dampened the celebrations.

But, despite his on-field success, Reardon faced a difficult relationship with his older brother off it, not least surrounding the issue of drugs.

“Poorer cities like Bradford, drugs were more acceptable,” Reardon told the Physio Spill.

“My mum and dad were hard working people, I’ve got two younger sisters who are lovely but I had an older brother who I never got along with.

“He was apart of the generation when heroin came around, everyone got on it thinking it was a phase like smoking weed and no one knew what it was.

“Living in a city like Bradford, everyone knows about drugs and they are easily accessible.

“If you get into sport you can steer away from this – my older brother got into heroin at 15 when I was 12, 13 and I have no fond memories of him from that age.

“We shared a bedroom, we were polar opposites, he would be smoking stuff in my bedroom and we would constantly fight – getting involved in sport was an outlet to get away from.

“He is still on heroin now, he is still really bad and I can’t ever see him getting past it, but no one my age got involved in that because of the example of those that are older.

“He’s had opportunities to get off it, he’s been in rehab twice, but the only people who really get away from it is those who move far away and don’t associate you with it.

“It really affected my sisters, my mum and dad split up over it because they didn’t understand it.

“I left home at 17 and went to my aunties to escape because we were just fighting constantly.

“It’s difficult to grow up with a drug addict because everything was always about him.”

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