Ex-England star Luke Gale preparing for future off pitch while starring for Keighley

Ex-Man of Steel Luke Gale’s given himself a day off work to get ready for Keighley’s big Betfred Championship opener.

The former England scrum-half lines up for his Cougars debut against promotion favourites Featherstone on Monday night. He’s one of many high-profile players gracing the season tier this season. The drop down from Super League often means switching to part-time and getting a proper job.

But Gale’s prepped for that after joining his brother to set up Leeds-based business GLB Roofing. He explained: “We started it about 18 months ago. But not so that I could be a roofer! I’m not getting the tools out – I’m no good with that.

“I don’t actually mind getting my hands dirty and stuck in but I am more involved in going to meetings and merchants. My brother Ben was a quantity surveyor for a roofing firm beforehand and we’ve got various contracts now. The business is in its early stages and it’s going well.

“We all wish we could play rugby forever. I still think I’m 25 but unfortunately I’m nearer 35. Hopefully we can keep growing it and it’s something I could see myself doing more when I stop playing. But I’ll be making sure I give myself Monday off to get prepped for Fev.”

Gale, 34, admits he did wonder whether he’d carry on playing after leaving Hull at the end of last season. He’d grown disillusioned with the sport and trained on his own for three months while mulling over offers including some Super League interest. But the ex-Castleford and Leeds star says the move to newly-promoted Keighley has reignited his passion.

Keighley Cougars’ Luke Gale with a defibrillator presented by Lizzie Jones MBE. (Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
Allan McKenzie/SWpix)

Ben Crooks has also joined from Hull KR and they kick-off against star-studded Featherstone. Gale, who played in the 2017 World Cup final, knows there’ll be a big target on his back. But he insisted: “I get stick wherever I go. I’m expecting a fair bit but I quite enjoy it.

“And it’s a good opportunity for us; what better first game of the Championship than playing the odds-on favourites to go up to Super League. It gives us a chance to see where we’re at and it’s a challenge we’re all excited by.”

And he’s ready for the challenges that life as a part-time player brings. Gale added: “I’m looking forward to it. I started here as I went on loan to Doncaster at 18 in League 1 so I’ve come full circle. It’s the next stage of my career. My legs might have slowed down a little but the brain’s still going and hopefully I can go another couple of years. I know it’s going to be tough. But it’s going to be good as well. And I’ve no regrets whatsoever.”

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