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Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Wigan sign Deacon from Bradford

Paul Deacon
I have always harboured a desire to play for my home town team

Paul Deacon

Ex-Great Britain scrum-half Paul Deacon has joined his home town club Wigan from Bradford on a three-year deal.

The 30-year-old had 12 months left on his contract with the Bulls but was released after they signed Australian half-back Matt Orford from Manly.

Deacon, who joined Bradford in 1998, has joined Wigan as an assistant coach but will be available to play in 2010.

"I hope to help Wigan win some silverware before I hang up the boots," Deacon said.

"I would like to thank Bradford, their fans, players, coaching staff, management and board for 12 truly memorable years.

"It has been an honour to play and captain the team but I hope they can understand the great opportunity I now have to progress my career beyond my playing days.

"I have always harboured a desire to play for my home town team.

"To work alongside Michael (Maguire) and Shaun (Wane) really excites me and I can't wait to get started."

New Wigan coach Maguire, who succeeded Brian Noble in October, said: "Paul will give us a number of options in our squad, covering the halves and adding versatility with the likes of Thomas Leuluai.

"He also brings with him a wealth of experience. He is a natural leader and is a great role model for some of our younger guys.


"Paul is a great student of the game and is very tactically aware having been the main pivot for both Bradford and Great Britain during his career."

Deacon, who will mentor Wigan's 20-year-old England half-back Sam Tomkins, will go full-time on the Wigan coaching staff from 2011, specialising in the kicking talents for which he made his name.

In 2006 he broke Bradford's points and goals records held by Keith Mumby, and in all kicked 1,140 goals and scored 2,609 points in his 12 seasons at Odsal.

He played in all five of Bradford's consecutive Grand Final appearances and won 11 caps for Great Britain.

Bradford chairman Peter Hood said: "We would like to thank Paul for 12 great years at Bradford Bulls.

"He has been a fantastic player, a loyal servant and a great captain. Due to the commitment he has shown to Bradford, we felt it was only right to let Paul move to his home town club where he has the opportunity to develop a coaching career."

Warriors' pre-season schedule features games against St Helens, Wakefield, Leigh and Warrington.

On 27 December, they travel to St Helens; they go to Wakefield on 17 January; it's Leigh Centurions away on 24 January; Wigan then make the trip to Warrington on 27 January.

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see also
Bradford Bulls to bring in Orford
16 Nov 09 |  Bradford
Deacon faces lay-off
27 Jan 04 |  Bradford
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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