Shaun Briscoe 'wouldn't change a thing' from time in Hull
IT was no surprise to anyone that Shaun Briscoe was granted a testimonial by the RFL. Normally, they are awarded to players who have celebrated 10 years at one club.
But every so often, a player makes a significant impact on the game for several different clubs and exceptions are made.
Briscoe fits that bill having put his body on the line for every club he has played for.
He made his debut for Wigan in 2002 before spending the next eight seasons in Hull, running in tries for the Black and Whites before crossing the divide and doing likewise at the Robins.
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Now playing for Widnes, the 29-year-old is honoured to be granted a testimonial and felt it was only appropriate to launch it where he spent his best years.
Joined by other players who have played for both Hull clubs, Briscoe will launch his testimonial at the Willerby Manor Hotel on March 25.
"It should be a great night," Briscoe told the Mail. "There will be a dinner followed by a question and answer session with players who have played for both Hull teams like Len Casey, Paul Rose, Craig Hall and Ben Galea.
"It will be a chance for people to ask them which club they preferred playing for.
"I enjoyed playing for both clubs as both offered something different.
"I spent eight years of my career there and I wouldn't have changed anything about my time in Hull.
"Widnes applied for the testimonial and the RFL granted it and it's a chance for me to thank people for everything I have achieved in my career."
Moving from one Hull club to the other has caused problems for some players in the past when they made the switch. But not for Briscoe.
In fact, fans of both clubs still hold him in high esteem.
It may have been five and a half years since Briscoe last wore the Black and White shirt of Hull, but a phone call which came out of the blue reaffirmed the level some fans in this city will go to help celebrate a special landmark.
"I got a phone call from Andrew Pahlen asking what he could do to help with my testimonial," said Briscoe.
"Before I knew it, he had organised a Curry and Quiz night in Hull and within a couple of weeks it was sold out.
"It's flattering to be regarded that way after being away from Hull FC as long as I have.
"In my brochure, it's humbling to read tributes from players, coaches and fans alike towards me.
"When I played for Widnes at Rovers last year, I got stick from my team-mates after the east stand applauded me when I jogged towards them before the game.
"When my team-mates got to the stand, they were booed.
"When I played at the KC last year I got knocked out by Eamon O'Carroll's shoulder and I don't remember very much about the game.
"But apparently the Hull fans were singing 'There's Only One Shaun Briscoe' as I left the pitch. It's nice to be appreciated like that."
Next month's launch dinner is one of many functions organised by his testimonial committee.
There will also be a testimonial match between his legends team and a Widnes legends team, with the shirt set to be unveiled at the launch.
A percentage of the money raised from all his events will go to his yet to be chosen charities, but one of them will be based in Hull.
As one of the bravest players to play in the Super League era, the three-month testimonial is a fitting reward.
Having put his body on the line for FC and KR, his badly broken nose is a constant reminder of that and, with tongue in cheek, he even approached a suitable company to help with the sponsorship of his events.
"I asked a cosmetic surgery company that deals with nose jobs if they wanted to sponsor me, but they never got back to me," Briscoe said. "To be honest, there's probably not a lot they can do for it at this stage.
"My wife April has got used to the way my nose looks now, but I intend to get it fixed after I stop playing."
SHAUN Briscoe would like to thank East Yorkshire Shutters, Clear Sky, High Motive and Oracle Cost Consultant for supporting his testimonial. Tickets for the launch are available from the FC and KR shops on Savile Street.