Written by Callum Walker
Peter Fox made his name on the wing with both Wakefield and Hull KR, but it was in the Leeds Rhinos academy where his career got off to a less-than lucrative beginning.
“I wanted to play for Leeds from a young kid and I was at a point where I got offered my first professional contract,” Fox explained to Everything Rugby League
“Obviously, I was around Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Ryan Bailey. It was a great environment to be in.
“Daryl Powell left and Tony Smith came in. Smith was amazing; he turned the club round and he was the best coach I’ve had by far.
“But, I had to make sacrifices – I dropped out of college and I was training on an academy wage.
“I ended up moving to Leeds to share a house and all my family were supporting me with food, money and washing.
“I can remember my nana coming and helping me with the washing. I used to live in York so they’d all come down and help me. Looking back, it was a massive risk without me having an education because I would have nothing to fall back on if it didn’t work.”
The former winger recalled how the lack of first-team action at Leeds left him having to explore other options.
“The coach didn’t pick me; Mark Calderwood was injured and another winger was picked in front of me.
“I went on loan to York, got in the National League 2 Team of the Year and came back.
“I wanted to play for Leeds, but I wasn’t picked again. I was gutted.”
Ironically though, after impressing at Wakefield and Hull KR, it was Tony Smith that gave Fox his national debut.
“Wakefield came in and then when I went on to Hull KR and halfway through the season Gareth Raynor got injured for England and by that time I had proved that I was a Super League winger.
“Smith then picked me for England; I thought it was a joke – he hadn’t picked me for Leeds so why would he pick me for England?
“But, I massively respected him for that, he changed his mind and told me he’d picked me on performances.”
Another spell at Wakefield came around before a loan move to Halifax and permanent moves to Doncaster and Newcastle capped off a career that spanned seven clubs. Fox, ultimately, has no regrets whatsoever.
“I loved it at Doncaster; it was absolutely brilliant – a 20-minute drive for me from my house. It was great meeting the new lads and being around a new club.
“It was a great experience, but I’ve loved every club I’ve been at; I’ve had the best career ever and I’m so grateful.
The ex-flyer was quick to point out that players are, more often than not, at the beck and call of their clubs.
“Sometimes in your career, decisions are made for you.
“Less than five percent of players can say I’m going to go there and do that and I had to make decisions financially for myself.
“There was one point where I could have gone to St Helens; they came in for me.
“But they had to get another player to leave to free up the quota spot and I was going to come in.
“It didn’t happen; it wasn’t meant to be because of things out of my control.
“It would have been a great experience, and who knows where it would have taken me?
“But, I’m very grateful for those three years at Hull KR and, ultimately, I’ve got no regrets.”