Former England captain Jamie Peacock is to come out of retirement in a bid to help keep Hull KR in Super League.
Peacock, 38, hung up his boots after helping Leeds win October’s grand final and took up a head of rugby league role with the Robins.
However, the Robins are fighting for Super League survival and Peacock will take the field again to assist them through a late-season injury crisis.
“Although my family don’t quite understand it, this feels like the right decision and I’m looking forward to getting back out there as quickly as possible,” Peacock said.
Peacock, who will continue to juggle his off-field role, was officially registered as a player by the club before the July deadline and he began training six weeks ago in the gym.
Taking part in a field session under interim coach James Webster on Tuesday, he looks set to play on Sunday away to London Broncos.
A surprise defeat by Leigh in the Super 8s on Saturday, which followed a loss to Peacock’s old club Leeds, has plunged Hull KR into relegation trouble.
Latest injuries to winger Ken Sio and forwards James Greenwood and Robbie Mulhern have left Webster with a threadbare squad, in the absence of skipper and former NRL player Terry Campese and vice-captain Graeme Horne.
Peacock suspended Albert Kelly for the Leigh match after he returned late from a trip back to Australia, while halfback partner Maurice Blair will miss Sunday’s game following the death of his brother.
“I’ve been happily retired for almost a year now and bowing out in last season’s grand final with the Rhinos was the perfect way to bring my career to an end, but the time has come for me to put my boots on again,” Peacock said.
“Physically, it may take me some time to get back up to speed but I’ve been preparing as best I can and, mentally, I’m in a good place.
“I understand my decision will be a big talking point but, as far as I’m concerned, I’m just focusing on training as hard as I can and getting back out there on the field as quickly as possible.
Peacock, ‘Man of Steel’ in 2003, made more than 500 appearances for Leeds, Bradford, Yorkshire, England and Great Britain before retiring with a record ninth grand final victory.