Thomas Minns raring to go to repay Hull KR for his second chance
THOMAS MINNS admits Hull KR would have had good reason never to entertain the idea of him wearing their colours again.
All the more reason then why he wants to repay their faith in him as the prolific centre takes his first steps back from a 16-month drugs suspension.
The East Yorkshire club released Minns last year after he was banned for taking cocaine, but they revealed last night they are ready to give him another chance.
Rovers have signed the 24-year-old for the rest of the season and – able to resume playing from July 15 – he is adamant he will not make the same mistake twice.
When other players have been banned for cocaine use their clubs have not always been as lenient with the cases of Zak Hardaker, Rangi Chase and Adam Walker springing to mind in recent years.
Leeds-born Minns tested positive for the drug following a Super League win at Huddersfield Giants in March last year and he played his final game for the club the following month.
He said he took the banned substance on Mother’s Day as he struggled with his mother’s death and admitted depression was a contributory factor in his ill-conceived decision-making.
“I’m absolutely over the moon to be back here at KR,” he said.
“It’s been a long journey; I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve put a lot of wrongs right in my life.
“I really appreciate Mike (Smith, CEO) Neil (Hudgell, owner) and Tim (Sheens, head coach) for offering me a second chance to represent this great club and I am raring to go.
“I cannot wait for that first time when I get to pull on that Hull KR jersey again. It’ll be quite an emotional day for me and my family.
“When I received my ban, Neil, Mike and Tim got a lot of support for me through my psychiatrist, so we’ve always been in touch with regards to them helping me, checking up on me
“They were great in that respect and we kept on speaking as friends, so to speak.
“We were coming up to the date to return training and had a chat about potentially coming back to the club.
“It was brilliant of them to even think of that – a lot of clubs who have been in similar situations haven’t done that, so I appreciate it.”
UK Anti-Doping issued the suspension – backdated – in January and the player is able to resume first-team training from June 1.
He could then make his ‘second debut’ at home to Huddersfield Giants on July 21.
Minns initially joined the Robins ahead of 2016 and went on to score 34 tries in 49 appearances.
He started his career at Leeds Rhinos and will certainly strengthen Rovers’ squad with the side currently struggling in 11th ahead of Sunday’s Magic Weekend fixture with Salford Red Devils.
“I want to keep up that try-scoring record that I have here at the Robins,” said the ex-London Bronco, who has also featured with Featherstone Rovers.
“I’m going to bring a lot of enthusiasm and I have a totally different outlook on life now.
“I want to help people who are struggling too, but also want to put my personal thoughts to one side and concentrate on rugby whereas before it wasn’t like that.
“I came to see a lot of the boys the other day and it felt like I’d never left – we reminisced on good memories.
“The club aren’t in the best of positions at the moment, but I hope I can lift the mood and when I play I will absolutely give 100 per cent like I always did.”
Minns faces plenty of competition for a centre spot with the likes of Kane Linnett, Jimmy Keinhorst, Ben Crooks and Junior Vaivai, but, if he can regain his sharpness, his talent will be useful at the back end of this term.
Meanwhile, Rovers half-back Mikey Lewis has joined League One outfit Newcastle Thunder on a month’s loan.
The 17-year-old has recently featured for Yorkshire Academy and earned his first full-time professional contract following his City of Hull Academy graduation.