Sibbit’s union switch gives fresh focus away from Bradford Bulls (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Ian Sibbit’s union switch gives fresh focus away from Bradford Bulls
Ian Sibbit has crossed codes following his departure from the Bulls and joined amateur rugby union outfit Preston Grasshoppers.
The 32-year-old Wiganer retired from Super League at the end of the 2012 campaign and has started working as a personal trainer in his native north-west.
Yet he remains in excellent physical condition and so decided to join his old rugby league pals Karl Fitzpatrick and Sean Long at the National League Two North side.
Although a back-rower in league, Sibbit will play inside-centre for the Grasshoppers and could make his first-team debut in Saturday’s trip to Stockport.
“I’ve not played rugby union since representing Wigan Schoolboys aged 16, when I played scrum half,” said Sibbit, who got his first taste of action for Preston when scoring for their second team in a 93-0 romp over Stockport’s second string.
“But Karl Fitzpatrick is on the coaching staff here and is a very good friend of mine. We played together since we were ten until the age of 16.
“I joined Warrington and he signed for Widnes. Then when I signed for Salford he was there too, so I played for six years with him there.
“After we went our separate ways from Salford, Karl took up the conditioning job at Preston. They persuaded him to play as well, so Karl said to me ‘you will go well down here’.
“When I decided to retire from Bradford, I thought I’d give it a go and it’s certainly a very impressive set-up and a really well-run club.
“It’s not just the rugby union – they have all kinds of sporting activities going on there and a lot of social events too.
“I’ve pretty much committed until the end of this season and then we’ll talk again about next year. I’ve absolutely loved it so far and am looking forward to getting more games.
“Rugby league has become wrestling crazy in the last few years, whereas rugby union is the exact opposite. As soon as you tackle somebody you’ve got to roll away.
“There are some great athletes in rugby union and both codes can learn a lot from each other.”
Sibbit admitted the Bulls’ financial meltdown during 2012 impacted upon his decision to hang up his rugby league boots.
He is now employed by Manchester-based M1 Health, who provide personal training and advice on nutrition, exercise prescription, supplementation protocol and lifestyle.
Sibbit said: “I wasn’t pushed into retiring but the administration and my injuries this year didn’t help. I’d not put myself in the shop window for someone to take a punt on me.
“I’d have loved to stay at Bradford because my body still feels great. But when the administration happened, I got approached by M1 Health about coming on board there and decided it was a really good opportunity to take up.
“I absolutely loved my time at Bradford though and will be back with my family to support the team at Odsal next season.”
Meanwhile, former Bulls physiotherapist Jamie Moseley has joined Hull FC as head physio.