HIS ninth-month suspension finally over, Danny Bridge will be ready to go again whenever Scott Naylor feels he is ready.
The big second-row man got his ban last July and he will be available for the long trek to Llanelli on Saturday for the game against West Wales Raiders (3pm).
He has been training and keeping himself fit and can’t wait to start playing again.
“It’s seemed a long time to be out, especially on game days,”
said 26-year-old Bridge, who was suspended for nine months and fined £75 by an Independent Tribunal after pleading guilty to an offence which involved referee Cameron Worsley at Keighley.
“It was hard watching when you wanted to be playing, but there were odd occasions last summer when I was able to do things that I hadn’t been able to do since I was 16, like going to Spain with some mates for a few days.
“There’s nothing to compare with playing though and I’m really looking forward to it now it’s coming close.”
It was his first and only ban in a career that began in Super League academies and has since taken him to Rochdale Hornets, to Queensland, Australia and now to his home-town Oldham club, where he is about to start his second season.
In the days following that ill-fated match at Cougar Park, Bridge apologised to the referee involved, to the Oldham club (chairman Chris Hamilton and coach Scott Naylor), to his fellow players and to the fans.
More than once since he has said publicly:
“Anyone who knows me, and knows how I play rugby, knows that for anything like that to happen was completely out of character.”
His return almost coincides with that of Danny Langtree, who came back to Roughyeds last week from Hull FC, and Naylor has previously commented that it will be like having two new quality players around the dressing room.
They will help to compensate for the loss of on-loan winger Lee Kershaw who was recalled by injury-hit Wakefield Trinity in time to play and score on his Super League debut in a 26-24 win against Leeds Rhinos.
While Lee was training at Oldham last Thursday ahead of the Good Friday game against Hunslet, Trinity picked up two more casualties in Matty Ashurst and Joe Arundel in a narrow defeat at Castleford.
They recalled Lee that night with the result that Kyran Johnson and Aaron Jones-Bishop filled our wing berths against Hunslet, Kyran scoring an excellent early try when he leapt like a salmon to pluck a Dave Hewitt cross-kick out of the air with fully outstretched arms.
The congratulations of everyone at Oldham RLFC, meanwhile, go to Lee Kershaw, who crowned his first appearance at the elite level with a long-range try.