REVITALISED Hull KR hooker Shaun Lunt has his “vigour” back for the game once more – which could leave Huddersfield Giants regretting their decision to let him play against them today.
The former England international switched clubs on a season-long loan last month and has made an instant impact for Rovers, helping them to three wins from his four outings and scoring three tries along the way.
“I’m looking forward to Monday but I’m just looking forward to playing every game now, week-in, week-out,” explained Lunt.
“I’m really enjoying my rugby. Last year I had injuries and this year didn’t start too well but now I’ve got my vigour back for it and feel like a little kid again.
“I felt I just needed a change and that the club needed a change from me as well.
“All round it’s been a great transition and it’s worked both ways – Huddersfield are doing great, I’m really pleased for them – but loyalties lie here for Hull KR now.
“I don’t hold any grudges, there’s no bad blood, it’s just how it happens sometimes and it’s the nature of the beast.”
Lunt, out of contract at Huddersfield at the end of the season, has been in this situation before.
He was sent out on a season-long loan by then Giants coach Nathan Brown to Leeds Rhinos in 2012 and, memorably, went on to help their West Yorkshire neighbours win a Grand Final.
It is no secret that Lunt, understandably, would have liked to have stayed at Headingley but, with Paul Anderson having succeeded Brown, he, equally understandably, wanted the in-form rake back in the claret and gold.
Lunt duly helped Giants to the League Leaders Shield in 2013 and deservedly earned a place in the Super League Dream Team.
The way he has settled in so effortlessly now in east Hull, he says, is in large part to his colleagues, particularly the in-form Australian half-backs Terry Campese and Albert Kelly, who are so crucial to Rovers’ vitality.
“It was a similar situation at Leeds,” added Lunt, who helped Rovers to a famous 20-6 victory at derby rivals Hull FC on Thursday.
“It’s all credit to the boys and staff. They’ve made me feel really welcome. I’ve only been here a few weeks but Alby and Campo have helped me out loads just like Maggsy (Danny McGuire) and Kev (Sinfield) did at Leeds.
“That’s why I’m fitting in nice and seamlessly. Campo’s a general like Kev. They never shut up and it’s been brilliant.
“I’ve been playing big minutes and have been tired at times but when someone’s telling you what to do it’s so much easier. Every rugby league side has the same sort of plays, just different names, so when you get tired you sort of revert back to what you usually call them.
“In that heat of the moment sometimes you can’t get the words out but Alby and Campo have been doing that for me.”
The Cumbrian, who turns 28 next week, signed for Giants from Workington seven years ago and established himself as one of the competition’s top hookers.
Is he surprised, then, that Anderson is allowing him to play?
“With the new league structure, we could potentially play Huddersfield four or five times,” explained Lunt, Giants having seen their four-game winning run ended by Salford on Friday.
“I’m not saying I’m going to be the decisive player in those games but if I’ve been playing week-in, week-out here and if we’ve to throw someone else in, there’s going to be a change in the team dynamic. Hooker is a pivotal position.
“It’s good of them I can still play but I’m not bothered – I have all good memories of Huddersfield.”
Hull KR would clearly love for Lunt to extend his stay as his skills – dynamism around the ruck, defensive quality and leadership – are just what they required following captain Josh Hodgson’s switch to Canberra Raiders.
For now, though, he maintains he has not thought about 2016.
“I think what happened was Huddersfield accepted a bid for me,” continued Lunt.
“But I just said I was not enjoying my rugby and just wanted to get my head clear. I didn’t want to jump into any long-term contracts and this way (loan) we can have a look at each other.
“But I do love it here. As long I’m doing the business, I’m not doing myself any harm and am in the shop window. Rovers have been fantastic for me and I’m giving my all on the pitch to repay them for this chance here.”