Wigan Warriors: Liam Byrne says he soon became ‘addicted’ to rugby league after getting into the sport as a 10-year-old
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The prop initially played football growing up, but ended up joining his local amateur side Cadishead Rhinos, after being asked by a friend to go along to one of the team’s training sessions.
It didn’t take long for Byrne, who recently played in the Challenge Cup final for Wigan, to discover his love for rugby soon after joining, and states he quickly became “addicted” to it, despite having no prior interest.
“I was never into rugby until I was about 10-years-old,” he said.
“I had played football for a year or two, but before that I wasn’t really into sport, it didn’t really bother me.
“I was always kicking a ball about on the field near my house where Cadishead trained. I always used to see them but never thought about joining in.
“One day I was just playing football, and one of my friends asked if I wanted to jump in training and I just carried on going after that.
“When I first started training I thought ‘I’m probably quite good at this to be fair,’ so I just kicked on from there.
“I was quite addicted to it as soon as I started playing, the intensity of the game just grabbed me. As soon as I got into it I was massive on watching it on TV. Every Friday night I’d be watching someone play, even if my knowledge wasn’t the best.”
Byrne’s ability caught the attention of Wigan after he finished school, and was signed up following a period on trial.
The 22-year-old says he was determined to do whatever he could make the most of the opportunity with the Warriors, even if it did involve some long days with a tiring amount of travel at first.
He also jokes, he took a bit of a gamble to ensure he passed his driving test as soon as possible, to make his life a little bit easier.
“I did a year in college before I was spotted by Wigan, and got put on trial when I was 17,” he added.
“My mum got a text off them with the news, but it was only the start so I tried not to get carried away. It was an unbelievable feeling to that initial recognition.
“I would get three trains, then I walked to central park. It was really tough at times, don’t get me wrong, because they were long days. I was getting up at 5.30am and getting home at 9pm, but I really wanted to stay there and I’m glad I got through.
“It was class when I passed my driving test. It was a relief and nice just being half an hour away from training. It was a big change.
“I was doing my lessons in Warrington but they didn’t have any test availability for like three weeks, so I did it in Atherton because I was determined to get it out the way.”