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Long Read Interview: Hakim Miloudi

Hakim Miloudi is one of the best centres to watch especially based on his recent performances in the Championship for Barrow Raiders.

He was also a star of Super League during his time with Hull FC and Toronto Wolfpack.

His move to Hull FC showed his quality to the rugby league world and saw him really make his name and speaking exclusively to Serious About Rugby League, he revealed how a former St Helens and Warrington Wolves star helped pull off the move.

“I moved after winning the French Elite 1 Championship Final and Vinnie Anderson, the brother of Louis, asked me if I wanted to go to England.

“He said that I was better than this level, so I decided to take on the challenge and it worked.”

The centre loved his time at the MKM Stadium and thanked the club for giving him the opportunity: “I loved it, the fans the players and everyone was really good, the city as well was special.”

“I met a lot of good players and friends there, I loved my time over there and I just want to say a massive thank you to Hull FC for giving me the opportunity to start my career in Super League with the black and white shirt.”

Miloudi was also part of the Toronto Wolfpack team that had a brief spell in Super League prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Wolfpack’s departure from Super League was both sudden and dramatic, with the transatlantic Canadian club unable to afford their place in the top flight following an expensive journey through the Championship and League One.

The overwhelming financial costs following the pandemic saw owner David Argyle leave, but with it went the pot of money that was helping the Wolfpack not only survive, but pay their players, including global icon Sonny Bill Williams.

Reflecting on his time at Toronto, Miloudi had only positive things to day, however he did acknowledge that the ending was something that none of the players saw coming.

“I really enjoyed my time with Toronto,” said Miloudi. “It was a unique experience and one I don’t think you could replicate playing for any other club in rugby league.

“It was always going to be difficult and there is no question we struggled in Super League, but it didn’t take away the enjoyment for me and I would do it all over again.

“The things off the pitch I can’t really say too much about, it just ended the way it did and I suppose that was always a risk with something like this given the amount of travel involved and money being spent.

“On the pitch, well it was a shame we never got to play a Super League game at home in Toronto, because I think the atmosphere would have been incredible and we would have been harder to beat at home with the teams travelling obviously coming a long way.”

Though Miloudi was reluctant to discuss about off-field matters in-depth, he did confirm that he and many of the players are still owed money after their contracts ended early along with the season.

“Like I say I don’t want to comment too much about the off-field stuff but I don’t think it’s any secret about the money, and players not being paid what they are owed from their contracts.

“I was obviously able to move on and it’s not something I think about now but many players struggled because they weren’t paid the money they were expected to for the rest of that season and it left a big whole for many.

“But it’s happened now, I hope things can move on for everyone, that everyone who was there I hope is now okay financially and I hope the club can bounce back and we see them again one day.”

As mentioned, Miloudi has spent the last two seasons in the Championship with Barrow Raiders where he has scored 12 tries in 26 appearances for the Cumbrian outfit.

Speaking on his time playing in the Championship for the Raiders, Miloudi admitted that he was surprised by the level of competition in the second tier and highlighted the toughness of the division as it’s major strength.

“I have obviously played in the French Elite 1 Championship so when I arrived at Barrow I did expect the level to be quite similar to that, but that wasn’t the case,” Miloudi said.

He continued: “What I will say is the skill level is not too different but the Championship is a much tougher league to play in because the conditions are difficult in the winter.

“I think if some of the Championship player played in the conditions like in the South of France or played on Super League quality pitches then the level would be much better with less mistakes.

“But aside from that I will say the Championship is such a tough league in terms of the contact. There are a lot of aggressive players, lots of big hits and the contact is as tough as Super League.

“Players may be part-time and may have been working through the week but when it comes to the game every player is on their game and giving their all – it’s a very tough competition.

“I loved the Championship though, I only have good things to say about the league and about my time at Barrow because it is a good club and with backing I think they could be in Super League one day.”

For Miloudi a return to the South of France now seems likely following the conclusion of this season as he approaches his 30th birthday in June next year.

His career in rugby league has reached heights many would not have predicted, especially when he was still playing in the French Elite league at the age of 23.

“Coming over to England was the best decision I made for my career and to play in Super League and in some huge Challenge Cup games is something I never imagined happening.

“I would do it all over again given the chance and I want to make sure I squeeze every last bit out of my career in the coming years because it’s something I think I’ve done pretty well so far.”

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