Danny Richardson has “no hard feelings” towards St Helens, as he prepares to face his former club for the first time this Sunday since leaving for Castleford in the off-season.
The 23-year-old had been at the club since the age of 16 and was a standout performer in both the scholarship and academy sides, garnering praise from former players including legendary ex-Great Britain international Sean Long.
He broke into the side in 2017 and was named as Super League’s Dream Team scrum-half the following season, following a sensational year that saw him top the competition stats charts for goals kicked and points scored.
The following year, however, was a much different story. He suddenly found himself behind Jonny Lomax and Theo Fages in the pecking order and featured just 13 times, as well as making several cameo appearances for Leigh on dual-registration.
His lack of game time prompted a move to West Yorkshire but despite his rocky ending, Richardson insists he holds no grudges towards the club he spent seven years with.
“I owe a lot to St Helens,” he said. They’ve developed me into the player that I am today, I loved my time there.
“I’ve made some friends for life and we’ve had some great times – tours of Australia and countless big games.
“Obviously last season wasn’t what I wanted it to be but I’m not going to let that ruin the years before that and I’ve left St Helens with no hard feelings. It is what it is.”
To go from instant stardom to almost rock bottom in less than 12 months can take its toll on a player, especially one still in the early stages of his professional career.
Richardson, though, is reliant on his positive mindset and is keen to bounce back under Daryl Powell. He’s already played a major role in the Tigers’ four wins from six games and is keen for that to continue.
“I’ve seen a lot of (comments saying), ‘He’s not what he was in 2018’ and stuff like that,” he added. “The way I’m looking at it is that I’ve kind of had a year off.
“I’m more focused on doing my job for the team at the minute and anything else we can take on the back of that is a bonus.
“I’m just enjoying playing my rugby and making people think I’m the same player as in 2018, if not even better.”