KARL Ashall is enjoying his time away from rugby league - although he is keeping a close eye the form team in League 1.

Former North Wales Crusaders' hooker Ashall retired at the end of last season, but he is still keeping a close eye on how his former side is getting on.

They're not doing too badly, with eight wins from eight matches to begin the league season and Ashall was in attendance for the record win at home to West Wales Raiders earlier in the campaign.

"Well, I was treated like some sort of legend!" said Ashall.

"I enjoyed being down there.

"I have been struggling to get down there, with having a new baby.

"With so much respect as possible to them (West Wales) that's not a game to judge how well Crusaders are doing this year.

"But if you look at results, things are massively on the up this year.

"The lads they have brought in have been great."

On the success so far this season, Ashall stressed: "The lads bought into the Cru way last year.

"It helps when you're bringing in new players.

"I think they have built on last year and kept the confidence going."

While he is enjoying his retirement, with additional family time now available, Ashall says he does miss the playing aspect.

"I would go back tomorrow if I had the time," he added.

"I have kept myself away a little bit to deal with that.

"I want to be there.

"Retirement's going well. It's nice to be home with the family, that's great.

"They were all saying 'we will miss you' and they've probably gone and done better than last year!

"It's bitter-sweet they're doing well.

"But I'm made up, obviously."

Next up is the top-of-the-table clash at home to Keighley Cougars on June 4.

"I think we owe them one from last year," said Ashall.

"They're the two stand-out sides at the moment.

"Swinton was one of the teams you looked at and they got a victory there.

"The real test is Keighley.

"It's still early in the season and it doesn't mean that's the winner of the league.

"Crusaders are doing so well.

"It would be unfair to say I didn't see it coming.

"That win at Doncaster, that's sent shockwaves through the league."