Written by John Davidson
Dan Norman grew up in Warrington as a diehard Wolves supporter. But he started his rugby league career at bitter rivals Widnes, and is now out to make his mark with another rival in Super League heavyweights St Helens.
Norman joined Saints in the off-season after spending a year with London. The prop admits he thought something was pulling his leg when St Helens firs approached him about signing for the club.
“I didn’t think it was true at first, I didn’t really expect it,” he told Everything Rugby League.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. London were good, that knew I couldn’t turn it down. I’m a Warrington lad anyway so it was an opportunity to come home.”
Norman says it has been somewhat of a privilege to join the defending champions.
“It’s been good, it’s just been good for me to personally get back playing rugby,” the 23-year-old said.
“I was at London and I came back [north] when the Covid situation happened. So I’ts been good playing rugby again. Especially at a club as big as Saints, the reigning champions, it’s been a bit of privilege.
“Last year was a weird one really. We didn’t know what was happening, we didn’t know how fast we would be back. We had to keep our fitness up and keep training, and make the best with what equipment we had at home.
“London were pretty good in that respect. I never stopped training and then when the opportunity came to come to Saints I had to hit the great running.”
Norman describes the chance to learn off the likes of Alex Walmsley, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Kyle Amor everyday as “massive”.
“They’ve done a lot in the sport all of them,” he said.
“They’re in my position and if I can just emulate a little bit what they’ve done I’ve be made up. They’re constantly helping me with things and how to improve. It’s good to be around them.”
The front-rower came through Widnes’ academy before making his Super League debut in 2018.
Norman admits he can’t wait to eventually face Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, especially in front of his Wire-supporting family.
“I was a big Warrington fan growing up,” he explained.
“I ended up going to Widnes academy, I was there about five years before making the move to London. Playing Warrington at their ground would be one I’m looking forward to. My family will support me, but not when we’re playing Warrington. It’s funny.”
With St Helens possessing strong depth in its forward pack, Norman knows he will had to wait for his chance to impress.
“It’s just really taking the opportunity when it comes,” the prop said.
“It’s a long season, there’s a lot of games, with how physical the game is I’ll get my chance at some point. Even in training just helping the boys that are playing.
“I just have to take the opportunity when it comes. The whole’s squad needed over the season, it’s not just the same XVII all year.”