Rugby League: Wetherby Bulldogs prepare for final game of season

Wetherby Bulldogs in action  110205M3d.

Wetherby Bulldogs in action 110205M3d.

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Wetherby Bulldogs will give their all one final time this summer when they entertain Brighouse Rangers A on Saturday.

The Open Age Summer league has provided opportunities for many of Wetherby’s young rugby stars to play at open age level for the first time.

And Bulldogs manager Andy Hunter has been encouraged by what he has seen of his young charges.

“Our team has consisted of mostly under 17 and 18 players this summer and it’s been great to see some of those players playing

“Tom Shortell and Ellis Leach have done remarkably well for us, as has Matthew Savage who has come from Blackpool to play for us, and although he’s in his early 20’s, he’s one of the older players in our young squad.

“Ellis’ younger brother, Henry, has also featured and has played some good rugby together with his brother.”

Labelling Savage as a senior squad member in his early 20’s gives insight into the struggles Hunter has faced at times putting together a team.

The 48-year-old manager even pulled on his old boots last weekend as the Bulldogs fell to Heworth 56-16.

He said: “It was great to take the field with some of the lads I have been coaching since they were eight years old.

“We got beat by Heworth who were a tough-but-fair, well drilled team, it was a bit of a learning curve for some of the lads.

“I really enjoyed playing with the lads and its been good to see them stepping up to the action this year.

“Getting a team playing together has been a bit of a struggle with the league running through the holidays, but there is no question the players we do have give their all every time they take the field.”

The positive attitude of Hunter has no doubt rubbed off on the younger squad members and helped contribute to the Bulldogs most dominant performance of the summer; overcoming Heworth A 52-14 back in June.

At the heart of the Bulldogs throughout the summer has been loose-forward and club captain Jordan Picker, who Hunter singled out for praise.

He said: “Jordan Picker has led from the front this year and shown good experience among a young squad.

“It’s great to see that Jordan has gone full circle with us and has taken up a coaching role helping some of the youngsters improve.

“It’s our last game of the season on Saturday so hopefully we can get a lot of supporters in to cheer us on.”

Brighouse Rangers ‘A’ make up Wetherby Bulldogs’ final opposition of the summer league and will prove a tough opposition for the second time this summer after a 62-20 defeat for Wetherby in May.