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Long will be a top coach - Wilkin

By Paul Fletcher

Sean Long in action for St Helens
Long has won every domestic honour while at St Helens

Sean Long has all the attributes to become a top coach when his illustrious playing career comes to a close, says his St Helens team-mate Jon Wilkin.

Long, 32, has signed a two-year deal to play for Hull from next season, which will end his 12-year St Helens career.

"Sean's got one of the best rugby league brains in the country and I am sure he will become a top grade coach," said Wilkin in his BBC column.

"I'm sure he will become one of the best British coaches in the game."

Long has made 320 appearances and scored more than 2500 points for Saints, winning every honour in the domestic game during his time at Knowsley Road.

But the scrum-half, known for his flamboyant range of hairstyles, has not always made the headlines for the right reasons.

In 2004 Long and then team-mate Martin Gleeson were fined and received lengthy bans after admitting to placing bets on a severely weakened Saints to lose their Super League match against Bradford on Easter Monday.

Sean's input at training sessions is invaluable - he can really give the team direction

St Helens star Jon Wilkin

And Long's international clear ended under a cloud when he flew home from Great Britain's Tri Nations tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2006, with coach Brian Noble blaming "personal reasons".

But Wilkin added: "Sean's personality is exaggerated by rumour and in the media.

"He has had a long and illustrious career at St Helens and has ambitions to become a coach.

"Sean is a knowledgeable and really thorough professional. I think that Sean's rugby league brain is something that cannot be learnt or inherited. You are born with that sort of instinct, it is not something that can be developed.

"In terms of our attack at St Helens, over the years he has been influential in creating the style you see us play today along with the coaching staff.

"His input at training sessions is invaluable - he can really give the team direction and I'm sure that all those qualities we admire in the player can easily be transferred into a coaching role."

Wilkin, a personal friend of Long, said that he would be sad to see him leave Knowsley Road but felt that the club had talented youngsters who would be able to fill the void left at scrum-half.

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mackemsaint

"At the club we do have some pretty exciting players," said the 25-year-old.

"We have Matty Smith who is on loan at Celtic Crusaders and Kyle Eastmond who is doing a very good job for us at the moment.

"They are more than capable of filling in for Sean and becoming the next number seven at St Helens for the next few years."



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see also
Hull FC sign Saints veteran Long
01 Jun 09 |  Hull
Long admits he could leave Saints
20 May 09 |  St Helens
Saints deny Long moving to Sydney
05 Aug 05 |  St Helens
'Shorn' Long
25 Feb 06 |  Photo Galleries
Long leaves GB Tri-Nations tour
13 Nov 06 |  International
Horne replaces Long in Lions team
14 Nov 06 |  International
Long stays silent on return home
14 Nov 06 |  International
Long rules out switching to union
20 Sep 06 |  Rugby League
RFL ups heat on Saints duo
18 Apr 04 |  Rugby League
Saints duo given hefty bans
17 Jun 04 |  Rugby League
Saints launch inquiry
16 Apr 04 |  Rugby League
Saint or sinner
28 Aug 06 |  St Helens


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