In-season signing Shaun Lunt “ready to go this Sunday” says Leeds Rhinos’ director of rugby Kevin Sinfield

IT IS fair to say Shaun Lunt has, for some time, had unfinished business with Leeds Rhinos but he could never have imagined finally getting the chance to sort it seven years later.

Shaun Lunt. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The popular hooker made no secret of the fact he would have loved to have stayed at Headingley after helping Leeds win the 2012 Grand Final.

Lunt had been a key member of that side having joined on a season-long loan from Huddersfield Giants.

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He scored nine tries in 23 appearances in a move that worked splendidly for both parties – the player and Leeds.

Brad Dwyer. PIC: Tony Johnson

Given his stellar form, it was no surprise Huddersfield wanted him back for 2013 and Lunt duly returned to immediately help them go on and finish top for the first time since 1932.

The former England hooker established himself as a leading player for the Fartowners before heading over to Hull KR in 2015 where, for the large part, he was similarly influential.

A potentially life-threatening illness last September could easily have ended the Cumbrian’s career but Lunt – then Rovers’ captain – battled back to go again, making his long-awaited return at the end of March.

Granted, he has struggled to make his mark in a struggling Robins side since and has had further injury concerns, his last appearance being a month ago in the Magic Weekend success over Salford Red Devils.

Kevin Sinfield. PIC: Tony Johnson

But he is understandably delighted at the opportunity to get a second chance at Leeds – even if they are now at the wrong end of the table.

Lunt, 32, yesterday signed on loan until the end of the season and could feature against Catalans Dragons at Headingley on Sunday – ironically the same opponents and venue when he first debuted in 2012.

If he can recapture some of his old form, his experience and footballing talent could be crucial in Leeds’ bid to pull clear of the relegation zone and he will certainly offer plenty of support to the in-form Brad Dwyer.

“I am delighted to be back and can’t wait to get started with the Rhinos,” said Lunt.

Matt Parcell. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

“I had five wonderful years at Hull KR and I am pleased that I have left them on good terms. I am excited about the challenge here at Leeds.

“There are so many great young kids in this side and I am looking forward to working with them. My focus is just on helping the Rhinos each week and we will see where that takes us come the end of the season.”

Matt Parcell, of course, has moved the other way and Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield said: “I’d like to welcome Shaun back to the club. He is an outstanding professional who knows our club well.

“He had a huge impact on the squad during his first spell here and I know he was very keen to remain at the club at the time.

“Having met with Shaun this week, he is in great shape and ready to go this Sunday.

“The deal is initially until the end of this season but there is an opportunity for him to earn a contract for next season with his performances. On behalf of everyone at the club, I would like to wish Matt Parcell well for the future.

“He was a Grand Final winner with us in 2017 and leaves with our best wishes.”