Shaun is brought down to earth by tragedy

Daily Mail - - Rugby League - By DAVID KENT

SHAUN LUNT has gone through the full gamut of emo­tions in the last seven days as he comes to terms with the tragic loss of a for­mer team-mate while cel­e­brat­ing his Eng­land call-up.

The 23-year-old Hud­der­s­field hooker, who is hop­ing to win his first cap against France at Leigh on Satur­day, is still griev­ing over the death of Garry Pur­d­ham in the west Cum­bria shoot­ing tragedy.

Lunt, from Cock­er­mouth, played along­side Pur­d­ham for Work­ing­ton for three sea­sons be­fore be­ing snapped up by the Su­per League Giants.

‘I knew Garry re­ally well,’ he said. ‘What a tragedy. I played with him for three years at Work­ing­ton and I can’t speak highly enough of him.

‘He was a great bloke. He wouldn’t bother any­one. It’s aw­ful. Gaz was just a quiet lad who went about his game but you could go to him any time you wanted i f you had a prob­lem. He was a very ap­proach­able guy.

‘It’s still not sunk in. I can’t imag­ine it hap­pen­ing any­where, never mind in your part of the world, it’s just hor­ri­ble.’

The game paid its re­spects to Pur­d­ham and the other vic­tims of Wed­nes­day’s shoot­ings with a minute’s si­lence be­fore matches at the week­end.

Lunt man­aged to put his sad­ness to one side as he helped Hud­der­s­field to a 52-6 win over Brad­ford on Sun­day.

Now he is poised to be­come the first Cum­brian to rep­re­sent his coun­try since Pur­d­ham’s younger brother Rob played for Eng­land in the 2008 World Cup.

The call-up caps a me­te­oric rise for Lunt, who was play­ing part-time rugby at the third tier just two sea­sons ago.

He then forced his way past Scott Moore t o be­come Hud­der­s­field’s first-choice hooker for the Chal­lenge Cup fi­nal at Wem­b­ley.

Moore had al­ready made his Eng­land de­but against France and now Lunt be­lieves he is ready to fol­low suit, even if the call has come ear­lier than he ex­pected.

‘I didn’t think I’d get in this year,’ he said. ‘It came as a mas­sive shock for me. If I got a chance to go Down Un­der, it would be un­be­liev­able.

‘I feel like I’m ready. I know I’ve only played Su­per League for 18 months but I feel like I’ve adapted re­ally well.”

AC­TION IM­AGES

Lunt: mixed emo­tions in the last week

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