Halden dons junior jersey

Group 20 rugby league

FORMER Manly halfback Clint Halden will come out of retirement to help his junior club Leeton avenge its grand final defeat next year.

In another coup for Group 20, the Barellan product has put pen to paper with the Greens in what president John McDonnell described as a dream move.

"That's why we nurture our juniors so they can scale the heights and hopefully one day come back," he said.

Halden, 32, played six NRL games for the Sea Eagles in the 2007 season and is the second player with top-level experience to join Group 20 this off-season, after the Black and Whites signed captain-coach David Milne.

He said he was genuinely excited about putting on the Greenies jersey for the first time since he was a teenager.

"I went and bought the boots the other day. It's been a few years since I've had to do that," he laughed.

"I just thought I'd come back for at least a year and give it a good crack.

"I haven't been home for a while and I've been missing the place.

"I'll take it pretty seriously when I get there and I'll do whatever I can for the club. I'm definitely pumped."

After knee issues saw him released from Manly, Halden decided to travel the world, living for nearly two years in England, where he met his wife.

He also spent time in Canada but his only flirtation with rugby league on his sojourn abroad was in a social competition for ex-patriate Australians in London, with a club known as the Hammersmith Hills Hoists RLFC.

"I wanted to take the opportunity to travel like everyone else," he said.

"I wanted to do it before I was 30 and obviously I had a couple of injuries back at Manly.

"That was the way the cookie crumbled no regrets, obviously."

Upon returning to Australia, Halden settled in Melbourne and works as a site manager for a project management company. He also serves as a part-time coach with the Melbourne Storm under 20s.

Halden said he was looking forward to working under new captain-coach Franky Fiumara, having come up through the Leeton juniors with his brother Pat.

"I was pretty surprised they didn't win it last year," he said. "There's a bit of a buzz around, apparently, so I'm looking forward to coming up after Christmas."

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