IN a roundabout way, former Castleford Tigers winger Nick Youngquest should really be thanking Hull FC counterpart Tom Lineham for his new-found worldwide modelling fame.
Okay, maybe that is stretching the point a little but there is a connection.
Australian Youngquest retired from playing at the end of 2012, at just 29, and is now based in New York earning up to £5,000 per day as the face of Paco Rabanne’s new scent Invictus.
He could, though, perhaps, have ended up instead being an Airlie Bird. Well, possibly. Maybe.
Lineham, the tyro winger who truly surged into Super League last season after arriving from York, explained the line as he prepared for tonight’s campaign opener against Catalan Dragons.
Given he was handed his big chance by Peter Gentle, you would think he would be perturbed by the Australian’s sacking after Hull’s embarrassing 76-18 play-off exit at Huddersfield in September.
But Lineham told the Yorkshire Post: “It was Rads (Hull’s then assistant, now head coach Lee Radford) to be honest.
“I came from York and went into the Academy but they were going to sign Nick Youngquest who is obviously ‘killing it’ at Paco Rabanne now.
“Every airport you walk into and any time you go on holiday there he is – Castleford’s Nick Youngquest. He’s on the TV adverts, too!
“But Rads pushed it and said he’d got this young kid who is a raw talent who doesn’t really know what he’s doing but he’ll run it in for you.
“He said to Pete ‘why don’t you give him a go?’ He persuaded him and they decided to do that.
“Obviously it went really well for me and, so, I owe it to Radders.
“Of course, I was sad to see Pete go. I got on really well with him and he’s a great guy so for his family coming over here from Oz it is tough what happened.
“But he is at Parramatta (assistant) now and I wish him all the best there.”
Lineham, with his rolled down socks and thundering running style, certainly exploded onto Super League last season, stunning defences aplenty with his abrasive carries.
It saw him profit with 17 tries and forge an exciting partnership with fellow rookie Ben Crooks, the centre whose own startling progress saw them both earn places in the Super League Dream Team.
Lineham, of course, endured heartbreak, however, when his season was ended by a serious ankle injury in August, endured less than a fortnight before Hull’s Challenge Cup final appearance against Wigan.
“It was a real shock to me last season how it all happened,” he admitted.
“It couldn’t have gone much better and then it came crashing down the week before Wembley when I got the injury.
“But you live and learn and it makes you stronger. This year, as a club, we know how good we can be – we’ve beaten the top teams before – it’s just about consistency and going to the lower sides and still getting results.
“At Wembley, we were there or thereabouts but ended up losing and there’s nothing worse than getting to the final and doing that.
“Yet I think it will just make us more hungry this year to go out and get our hands on the trophy.”
The inept display at Wembley, highlighting the wild inconsistencies in Gentle’s side after they had brilliantly dispatched Warrington Wolves in the semi-finals, contributed to the coach’s downfall.
Radford, the combative former prop who hails from the east side of the city, was promoted in his place and begins the new regime in earnest at the KC Stadium this evening.
“Every player respects him,” said Lineham, about his erstwhile Under-19s coach.
“He’s been there and done that. He’s very Hull and proud and we can see the disappointment when we don’t get the result and the elation when we do get the win.
“There’s a lot of passion there, a lot of pride and the players have a lot of respect for him.
“They will all turn out and put in performances for him and, hopefully, 2014 will be a successful year.”
Lineham – who has also undergone wrist surgery – is fully aware he will not be able to fly under the radar this season.
“I’ve had a lot of people talk about ‘second-season syndrome’ to me,” he added.
“I know you have to work a lot harder in your second season.
“The first year’s a shock but now I’m forever doing extras and little things to look after myself physically.
“It helps knowing what to expect and, hopefully, I’ll put in the performances.
“It’s important not to have back-to-back bad performances. You can have a bad game every now and again but it’s crucial not to be down feeling sorry for yourself. You have to come back all guns blazing.”
Lineham will aim to do that tonight in his first Super League game since the derby defeat at Hull KR last August and after an arduous pre-season.
“I don’t think anyone enjoys pre-season; it’s 15 weeks of torture really,” he added.
“But you get a taste in friendlies of what’s to come and Catalan at the KC on Friday... that’s why we all really play.”
And what about when it all finishes for him? Any chance of a modelling career himself?
“I wish. I don’t think I’m good looking enough for that, Maybe I’ll be a doctor, though. Ha!”