Long to bring style to Salford
Former Great Britain star Sean Long will be aiming to make Salford City Reds one of the most attractive sides in Stobart Super League after being put in charge of their attack.
After announcing his retirement at the end of last season, the 35-year-old former St Helens scrum-half has thrown himself into coaching as assistant to new Salford boss Phil Veivers and says it is the perfect antidote to not playing.
"I'm loving it to bits," said Long at the City Reds' pre-season media day at the new Salford Community Stadium. "Being involved in rugby all my life, it comes second nature to me.
"The boys have given me respect which I probably don't deserve because I've only been an assistant coach since October.
"I have a lot of input in the team. I run the attack and Phil does the defence."
Veivers, who was promoted from assistant when Australian Matt Parish quit the post of head coach after just six matches, believes Long is the perfect man to add a spark to his side's attack.
"That was his role when he was a player," he said. "It can only benefit us if we use his knowledge and it also helps him develop as a person and as a coach."
Long, whose last two seasons at Hull FC were disrupted by injury, recently made a comeback, playing lower-grade rugby union for Preston Grasshoppers and is enjoying his latest challenge.
He is hoping to play on beyond his 36th birthday in September, too, but insists it does not affect his day job.
"I'm playing on Saturday afternoons so I get my fix there which is good," he said. "I train with them Tuesday and Thursday nights which keep me fit.
"We've won seven and lost one of the matches I've played so far. I'll probably go round again. The body feels fine and I've not picked up any injuries.
"It all depends on my role at Salford. Work commitments here come first and, if it starts getting to being too big a load, I'll have to see, but it's not a problem at the moment.
"If we finish late and I can't make training at Preston, I ring them up and they're sweet about it."
Veivers insists he has no plans to tempt Long out of retirement and, although the player himself has not ruled out a Super League comeback, he is confident he will never be needed.
Matty Smith and Daniel Holdsworth will be Salford's regular half-backs and Carl Sneyd and French teenager Theo Fages provide back-up.
"We've got some good half-backs here so I don't think I'll be needed," Long said.
"We've got Sneydy if one of those goes down and Theo, who's been doing alright. We'd have to have a few injuries before I put the boots back on.
"You never say never but I'm really enjoying my coaching. If I wasn't, I'd like to think about playing again but I'm not."