Shaun is brought down to earth by tragedy
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.”
Lunt: mixed emotions in the last week