Luke Dorn heaps praise on Rob Purdham as the Quins captain prepares to say farewell to London.
Last Updated: 09/09/11 11:05am
While some are preparing for the play-offs the rest of the teams in Super League have one more outing before the season in the back pocket, with the focus quickly turning to next year.
Before training resumes I will have a month away in South Africa and then return home to Australia for a further month, giving me a nice break away.
This has been a tough campaign for Quins but the signs are already good for 2012. We've announced some great signings in the past few weeks, meaning it's looking like we will have the strongest squad during my time with the club. I'm very excited about some of the names coming in, meaning we will have depth and quality in our squad.
But before then we have one last fixture to complete. The home match against St Helens may not have much riding on it for either team (with Saints secure in third spot in the standings), but it will still be a massive game for Quins, because it will be Rob Purdham's last for the club.
'Purdo' has this reputation for being this big, quiet unassuming character, a farmer boy who wouldn't hurt a fly. I can, however, confirm that the man I know is far from that. He is a strong-minded man who is the leader of the pack. He never pulls any punches and lets you know exactly where you stand.
He's most definitely the boss in the dressing room - he's not just captain at Quins because he's been here the longest!
Purdo has been in London for so long and has had many opportunities to leave the club, but it's a testament to the man he is that he's stuck with it and seen it through in the capital.
Undoubtedly Rob is the leader - he leads with his actions, by doing all the stuff that people don't necessarily want to do on the rugby field. That's taking away nothing from his talent with the ball in hand; he's very skilful for a back-rower and can kick goals and score tries. He can pass the ball superbly, too.
Had it not been for injury, I've no doubt he would have played more representative rugby. I know he was part of England's squad for the 2008 World Cup Down Under, and that was a great experience for him in his career.
Rob's family were hit by a well-documented tragedy last year, and I don't think anyone would have begrudged him had he decided then to pack in playing, allowing him to return back home to be with his family in Cumbria. Few people would have begrudged him that after what had happened.
Instead, though, he wanted to see out his contract at Quins. Now he will finish the job this weekend before going back to work on the family farm.
He's been preparing for the early starts for some time now, getting up at around 5.30am in the capital and pretending he has had some gardening to do, or just getting out of the house to walk his dogs.
I hope that we haven't seen the last of Purdo on the field, though. I know he's not ruled out appearing for another Super League club, but much depends on how his body feels. The farm now comes first, but we could still see him strapping on the boots and tapping up those big ears to play again.
Rob was the first English player I met at Quins after my arrival and he's gone on to become one of my best mates in the game. His last outing will be emotional; I'll be honest and say I'm certainly not looking forward to it.
It'll be strange after Saturday to think he won't be in that home dressing room any more, though at least I won't have to listen to any more of his terrible jokes. In all seriousness, however, Purdo has to be considered one of London's greatest ever players, it's just a shame his hard work and effort over the years couldn't have been rewarded with a trophy or two along the way - if anyone deserved it, it was Rob.