RUGBY : Former Great Britain scrum-half Paul Deacon ended his 12-year stay at Bradford on Monday when he joined his home town club Wigan.
Former Great Britain scrum-half Paul Deacon ended his 12-year stay at Bradford on Monday when he joined his home town club Wigan.
The 30-year-old Deacon, who has captained Bradford for the last three years, had 12 months left on his contract with the Bulls but was released after the Yorkshire club completed the signing of a replacement, Australian scrum half Matt Orford.
Deacon, who continued to live in Wigan after joining Bradford from Oldham in 1998, has signed a three-year contract with the Warriors, primarily as an assistant coach but will be available to play for them in 2010.
New Wigan coach Michael Maguire, who succeeded Brian Noble last month, said: “Paul will give us a number of options in our squad, covering the halves and adding versatility with the likes of Thomas Leuluai.
“He also brings with him a wealth of experience. He is a natural leader and is a great role model for some of our younger guys.
“Paul is a great student of the game and is very tactically aware having been the main pivot for both Bradford and Great Britain during his career.”
Deacon, who will mentor Wigan’s 20-year-old England half-back Sam Tomkins, will go full-time on the Wigan coaching staff from 2011, specialising in the kicking talents for which he made his name.
In 2006 he broke Bradford’s points and goals records held by Keith Mumby and in all kicked 1,140 goals and scored 2,609 points in his 12 seasons at Odsal.
He played in all five of Bradford’s consecutive Grand Final appearances and won 11 caps for Great Britain.
Bradford chairman Peter Hood said: “We would like to thank Paul for 12 great years at Bradford Bulls. He has been a fantastic player, a loyal servant and a great captain. Due to the commitment he has shown to Bradford, we felt it was only right to let Paul move to his home town club where he has the opportunity to develop a coaching career.”