Deacon’s toughest decision

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PAUL DEACON described his decision to hang up his boots as one of the biggest of his life.

The 32-year-old former Bradford and Great Britain scrum-half confirmed his retirement when he officially became part of a new-look, all-British coaching staff at his home-town club Wigan.

Deacon, who joined Wigan two years ago after a glorious 12-year spell with Bradford, has signed a three-year contract to work under new head coach Shaun Wane and his assistant Iestyn Harris.

“It was up there with one of the biggest decisions of my life, but I thought about it for a long time and I believe I’ve come up with the right decision,” he said.

Deacon, who initially joined Warriors for a year before extending his playing contract 12 months ago, has made 51 appearances, but lost his place during the recent play-offs.

“It might have been a hint from Michael Maguire,” he said. “It puts a few doubts in your mind, but I knew deep down it was the right time.

“If I’m being true to myself, I think if I had gone on another year, I’d have regretted it.”

Deacon amassed a club record 2,609 points in 326 appearances for Bradford and played in five consecutive Grand Finals for them, winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy in 2002.

He was also a Grand Final winner with Wigan last season, and helped Warriors to a Challenge Cup final triumph over Leeds this year.

“I’ve had an unbelievable time,” he added. “I was very fortunate to have the career I had before I came to Wigan.

“If I had finished my playing days two years ago, I’d have been very proud of my career.

“But to finish with two seasons at my home-town club and lift three trophies and play in a World Club Challenge, a lot of players would have taken that to finish their career on.”

Now Deacon will be starting from the bottom as he embarks on the next stage of his career.

“I’ve done a bit of coaching with the scholarship and Under-18s and 20s and enjoyed it,” he said. “I’ve been learning for the last five or six years when I first thought of going into coaching. I’ve a wealth of experience to call on but I’m starting at the bottom.”