Aviva Premiership
Gleeson eyes union switch
ESPN Staff
July 29, 2012
Martin Gleeson admitted taking an banned substance © PA Photos
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Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership
Teams: England

Great Britain rugby league centre Martin Gleeson is desperate to switch codes to rugby union once he has completed his 18-month suspension for taking a banned substance.

The 32-year-old, who has won 28 Test caps for Great Britain, will be free to start training with any club from August 12 and play from November 12. The former Wigan Warriors centre played his last game in June 2011 for Hull FC before his ban began. Gleeson, though, insists he is in great shape and is ready to be a success in union after studying the game for the last year.

"I've had a few opportunities to go to union over the years but now is the perfect time to make the move. I have a real hunger to make it a success," he told the Rugby Paper. "I think I've got four good years left. I've been working with my own training team since February and I'm in the best shape of my life.

"I've smashed all my pb's in the gym and because I haven't played for so long, I haven't been taking any knock. That will have the effect of prolonging my career. In all my time in league, I've never had a serious injury. I've been very lucky I've never had anything worse than a broken thumb.

"There are a lot of clubs interested in me but nothing can be done before November. My decision to switch to union has not been taken lightly. The idea has been growing on me for a while. I've been watching a lot of rugby union. The more I watch it and study it, the more I like it. I know it will bring out the best in me. I wouldn't be doing it otherwise."

Gleeson admits he took the substance that led to his 18-month ban, but maintains he only did so on the assurance from his employers Hull that he was doing nothing wrong. Former Hull chief executive James Rule and fitness conditioner Ben Cooper were both given two-year bans for their role in what the RFL described as a "cover up".

"I took the substance in good faith because I had been assured it was legal," he said. "I was really upset by what happened. I was very low for a long time and then I realised I had to play the cards I'd been dealt. I've pulled myself through and one of the big motivations in that respect was the challenge of playing union.

"I've been waiting for a long time but the wait will soon be over. I just hope someone gives me a chance. I won't let them down."

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