Luke Dorn during his time at the Manly Sea Eagles

The interviews continue, as we had a chat with Luke Dorn about life, footy, a re-energising English stint and life after the game.

Here are his answers, we hope you enjoy them:

1. What is your earliest memory of rugby league?
My earliest memory was watching the 89 grand final. My grandfather was a Balmain supporter which made me one. I cried when they lost. I was only 7. 

2. You played for the Northern Eagles and the Manly Sea Eagles; what do you remember of your debut game and your time at the club?
My debut was a blur. I remember being back in the sheds with guys like Geoff Toovey and Mark Carroll thinking, “wow, this is amazing.”

And to play with guys like Steve Menzies and Nik Kosef was incredible. 

My first touch was a kick and Luke Ricketson absolutely hammered me after the kick but I bounced up with adrenaline.

We got a penalty and ended up winning the game. It was a great start to my career. 

I loved my time at the Eagles. Some of my best friends are from that time. 

We were very close and the senior players looked after us so well. 

I wasn’t there for very long, however, I have a great love for the club still.

3. You made the shift to England and enjoyed success with the London Broncos; what prompted your move to the club?
I was playing reserve grade at the Roosters when the call came. I had a group of friends just move to London to travel and live.

London didn’t give me long to decide, so I just went for it. It seemed an incredible opportunity to get paid to play footy in London, so I grabbed it.

I had to pack up and leave in a few weeks. Again, I had a great time in London.

Very much like Melbourne in Australia, you are all from other parts of the world and countries, and you just become such a close family.

We made the playoffs in my first year which was great. It was a wonderful time in my life.

London will always have a special part of me. My eldest daughter Roxy was born there. 

I proposed to my wife there also.

4. How different did you find the Super League compared to the NRL?
To be honest, I didn’t notice a great difference when I was there. If anything, it was more an open style but the difference between the top teams and bottom teams was the biggest difference overall.

St Helens, Bradford, Leeds and Wigan were all incredible teams full of internationals.

It was always a big task to match them.

5. Your final years of professional rugby league came with the Castleford Tigers where you made the Challenge Cup final; what was it like to play at the Wembley Stadium?
I am going to sound like a broken record, but Castleford was a brilliant time for me. I loved playing there.

The ground is so old and atmospheric. The people are incredibly passionate and loyal and they made me feel very welcome.

I think it was also where I played my best footy.

Daryl Powell had a style that suited me and some great players were added in. I guess it comes with being older and wiser and learning the game better.

Playing at Wembley was easily the best football experience I had. 

Such an iconic ground for rugby league and for sport in general. Thinking about walking out still gives me chills.

However, we didn’t play very well and lost. But that doesn’t take away from good of an experience it was. 

6. Post-footy, what are you up to now and do you still have an active interest as a fan?
I am the coach of the mighty Maitland Pumpkin Pickers. I always wanted to come back and contribute to my area where it all started.

And I am glad that I did. Coaching has been great fun. I played the first two years which was great fun.

I actually took my daughter to the Knights game against the Roosters recently, which was the first game I have watched live as a fan since I was probably 16. 

It was nice to just watch and enjoy the game. I must admit, the atmosphere made me miss it a little bit. 

I head up the corporate division for a company called Minetek. We supply mining equipment such as underground fans. 

There is a bit of travel involved with is good fun. I very much enjoy the role as it is primarily about building relationships.

7. If you could give advice to any budding rugby league player, what would it be?
Work as hard as you can, be patient, and take all of your opportunities. 

You never know where they will take you.

If you work hard and have a great attitude to learning and development, you can end up anywhere. 

Luke Dorn playing for the Maitland Pumpkin Pickers

By ricky

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