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From the Halliwell Jones to Iraq: how one former Warrington Wolves star took an unusual career turn

Matty Blythe is a name that disappeared from the rugby league scene at the end of 2017.

After playing 69 games for the Warrington Wolves between 2007 and 2012 and then a further 64 for the Bradford Bulls, Blythe returned to the Halliwell Jones in 2017 to play three more games before retiring.

His career route after that took an unusual turn, with the ex-centre becoming heavily involved in security services – an occupation which led Blythe to Iraq to look after bomb disposal experts.

After two years in the Middle East, Blythe returned to the UK to go into homeland security services – something which he is extremely passionate about.

“I just fell out of love with the sport and wanted a different challenge,” Blythe told Serious About Rugby League.

“I then went to Iraq for two years looking after bomb disposal experts, before coming home to then be more operational in the executive side, surveillance and TSCM (bug sweeping).

“I am now a qualified teacher and teach new operatives to work for us or freelance.”

The former three-quarter is currently training some rugby players that are coming to the end of their careers, but Blythe went into detail about his own career and what went wrong – and right.

“My time at Warrington was special – I came through the academy and it was a dream come true.

“To spend more than a second on the pitch was an honour and I was really happy to be a part of a transitional side when I first started and then we won a bit of silverware.

“Unfortunately we had the likes of Matt King, Chris Bridge and Ryan Atkins that were better than I was!

“So i went off to Bradford for four years, had a few operations, but I loved my time there considering the administration actions that were put on the club.

“I was more established and more of a senior player which was amazing, but I went back for my final year at Warrington and I just fell out love with the game which was nothing to do with the club.”

That falling out of love led Blythe to a security course which set the ball rolling for his current business path.

“I did a security course which I had always been interested in as a kid and teenager and I’m now the managing director of the company I started with.

“I got a good dig from a mate who was a country manager in Iraq and within that I went to Iraq for two years, looking for bomb disposal experts.

“We were going to places of interest such as hospitals, schools, and factories where ISIS had a stronghold which was a task order 10 – a department of state contract from the US government.”

Blythe continued: “I was taking my clients to disarm these improvised explosive devices and there was a death of a close friend of mine, but overall it was an amazing experience.

“When I got back, I then started teaching and doing a lot of operational work such as surveillance and bug sweeping (TCSM), which I am doing now.”

It’s been a hell of a life so far for Blythe and, aged just 32, he still has a hell of a lot of living still to do.

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