PROUD dad Shaun Lunt is hoping the birth of his son will signal the start of a golden Giants era for the hooker.
The 24-year-old, pictured, and his partner Grace celebrated the birth of Noah two months ago.
The arrival of the couple’s first child crowned a mixed 2011 for the inspirational No9, who has suffered an injury-hit season after making his England debut against Australia in last autumn’s Gillette Four Nations clash in Melbourne.
Lunt has been forced to undergo hernia and groin surgery to solve long-standing problems.
But the popular Cumbrian is hoping the operations mean he can put his injury woes behind him and look forward to a bright future on all fronts.
“This really has been a difficult season for me,” admitted Lunt.
“But when Noah arrived it made me forget about those tough times on the injury-front.
“There were times I felt really down when I was stuck on the sidelines. I was of no use to anyone doing that.
“I just wanted to be out there playing the game I love and giving everything I’ve got to the Giants.
“Fortunately, I’d got the birth of Noah to look forward to, and that kept me going, especially when I was in the gym on my own doing my rehab.
“But all those problems have been forgotten now, particularly following the birth of Noah.
“As soon as he came along, I realised I was no longer the most important person in my life, it was him.
“That also made me appreciate how lucky I am to have what I’ve got, and that’s something I intend to take into my rugby next season.
“Noah’s birth has made me feel a lot more positive about the future, both on and off the field, and I can’t wait to put the frustrations of 2011 behind me.”
But even though Lunt now has an extra mouth to feed, he knows it won’t affect the way he approaches the game.
“People keep asking me if I’m going to be trying even harder, because I’ve got to provide for Noah,” he added.
“But I don’t really think that’s the case.
“I’ve always prided myself on giving 110%, whether it’s in training or in games itself, so I honestly don’t think I can give any more on that front.
“My main aim is to try and put last season behind me and make sure I come back fitter, faster and stronger than ever.
“And with the way it’s going in pre-season, it’s a case of so far, so good.
“Apart from the odd little twinge where I’ve got the scar tissue as a result of the surgery, the training’s going as good as I could have hoped, which is very important.
“With the arrival of Tommy Lee (from Wakefield), we’ve got another quality hooker on our books, and that’s something else I know will keep me on my toes.”