LIONS RETAIN HOPE AND AIM FOR GLORY
17 November 2018
Ireland international Will Hope has extended his stay with the Lions signing a new two-year contract with the option of a further year.
Swinton Lions are thrilled to announce the re-signing of versatile forward Will Hope on a two-year deal, with the option of a third year.
Hope becomes the fifth player to put pen to paper for a deal longer than 12-months, joining teammates Rhodri Lloyd, Ben Austin, Rob Fairclough and new recruit Lewis Hatton.
The Swinton-born player joined the Lions during the 2017 season, previously appearing for Salford Red Devils and Sheffield Eagles. He was also involved in Oldham’s League One title-winning year in 2015.
The second-rower or loose-forward also represents Ireland on the international stage and has been ever-present in last five years for the Wolfhounds. He also featured in the most-recent European Championships and 2021 Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers, appearing in all-three fixtures against France, Scotland and Wales.
Hope was ever-improving during the 2018 season, scoring three tries including the Summer Bash fixture against Rochdale Hornets. He quickly established himself as a fan-favourite and he admits the new deal is the perfect move for him.
“I have family history at this Club, and it feels good to carry that on,” Hope told swintonlionsrlfc.co.uk.
“I’ve always wanted to play for Swinton deep down for that reason, and when I signed mid-way through last year I realised how much it meant to other people as well as myself.
“Re-signing for a couple more years made sense to me. I have a lot going on away from rugby at the moment, and it’s nice to be able to commit to both sides of what I do without any disruption. But most of all I play because I enjoy it, no other reason.
“So, when I get the opportunity to be able to do that, locally and professionally, with a great family history at this Club, and also to be able to do what I do away from it, it’s a no brainer.
“Both in business and enjoyment, I couldn’t really have it any better to be honest.
“I’ve played with, against, and now for Stuart Littler, so we know how each other works, which makes the whole thing a lot easier, so I’d like to thank him for giving me the opportunity to carry on my time at Swinton. Also, Andy Mazey, in rugby and away from it. He’s been on the same wavelength as me so that makes things go easy and smoothly so I’d like to thank him for that.
Will has recently began his own business, a bar in Swinton, which will be opening its doors for all soon, and admits he will enjoy his break after his international duties.
“I can’t wait to rip in, however I’ve been around the block and I know how hard pre-seasons are,” he joked.
“I’m going to enjoy my time off as I’ve just finished playing and meet up with the lads soon. I look forward to it, and of course, a Swinton Lion is always welcome at Riosca.”
“WILL WAS OUTSTANDING FOR US LAST YEAR”
Swinton Lions Head Coach Stuart Littler spent the international break with Hope on Ireland’s 2021 World Cup dream, and is a player he admires and worked tiresslessly with for the new deal.
“We have worked real hard to secure the services of Will Hope,” Littler said.
“Will was absolutely outstanding for us last year and is a real leader within our team. He cleans up a lot of the dirty work every week and has big minutes in him whether that is in the middle or in the backrow.
“Will is a player who I worked real hard on to bring to the Club and he has repaid that faith massively.
“In the recent European Championships, Will has been very consistent again with Ireland and definitely proved his value.
“We have beaten off some significant rivals for this signature and it is one I am really pleased about. Will is a Swinton boy from a Swinton family, whose dad also represented Swinton. He is proud to wear the badge and this is a value that cannot be underestimated.
“He is also set to start a new business venture in Swinton and I am sure our loyal fans will visit him for a coffee or a beer.”
Swinton Lions Pride Builder has also helped secure the services of Hope until at least the end of 2020, in which Tim, Rhys and David said: “The Swinton Lions Pride Builder fund is delighted to have been able to assist in the Club’s signing of local boy Will Hope.
“Will is a quality international player from a pedigree Swinton rugby family. His decision to commit to his home town is another important piece of the Club’s squad building jigsaw and further evidence of the value of this fans’ led initiative.”
“ONCE AGAIN PRIDE BUILDER HAS SUPPORTED OUR EFFORTS”
On the latest signing, Swinton Lions Chairman Andy Mazey commented: “Once again Pride Builder has supported our efforts and showed the true value of this initiative.
“The extra bit of support late in the day enabled us to retain a top quality player, a player who has turned down lucrative offers from some big clubs including a current top four side in the Championship.
“I’d also like to thank Stuart for his efforts on this one, he works tirelessly but it’s fair to say he worked overtime in this instance to secure Will and the player and coach relationship is a very strong one to a point I do not believe we would have ever got Will to Swinton in the first place but for Stuart, let alone retain him on a long-term deal, so this must be noted.
“To secure a player of Will’s ability for the next three years shows what we are building here at Swinton Lions and to have a local lad at the forefront of our charge towards 2019 and beyond is perfect.
“We can all now also look forward to sampling the hospitality at Will’s new bar in Swinton and I would urge our supporters to pay him a visit once open and support one of our own.”
You can watch Will and the rest of the Lions with 2019 season tickets now ON SALE and available ONLINE.
Confirmed 2019 Squad