POWERFUL second-rower Danny Bridge owes much of his love affair with rugby league to big brother . . . former Bradford and Warrington centre Chris Bridge.
Danny, our latest player of the week, told JENNY McGRANE, a member of our media team, that he first started playing at Royton Tigers after his parents had taken him to a lot of games to watch Chris in action.
When he was old enough to have a go himself he loved it — and he has done ever since.
He first played for Royton Tigers as a boy and it was from there that he was scouted and went on to bigger things in the junior sections of Super League clubs.
Starting in 2009, he spent a couple of years in the academy set-up at Wigan Warriors before moving to Warrington in 2011 and then on loan to Bradford where, in 2014, he played in eight Super League games to add to the two he had a year earlier at Warrington.
Among the Super League games he had at Bradford were three against Castleford, Widnes and Leeds.
He was then recalled by Warrington before leaving the full-time game behind him and signing for Rochdale in 2015.
His quest for adventure and his desire to see a bit of the wider world through rugby then took him to Australia where he played for two seasons in the renowned Queensland Cup, a feeder competition for the NRL, with Redcliffe Dolphins.
On his return to the UK he bumped into an old pal from their youth, Gaz Owen, and the rest, as they say, is history. He grabbed with both hands an opportunity to sign for his home-town club, no doubt encouraged by Gaz’s tales of how good life is at Oldham, and he tells me he is thoroughly enjoying his time at the Vestacare Stadium.
Rugby and work take up most of his time but he can occasionally squeeze in time for a few beers and a game of pool after work.
He also tries to watch as many basketball games as he can because one of his heroes is Lebron James. His rugby hero, not surprisingly, is his brother Chris.
While in Australia, Danny played against former Wigan and North Queensland Cowboy fullback, Matty Bowen, who is his favourite opponent.
Danny remembered watching the NRL growing up and thinking ‘what a freak he was’, also a term used by Darren Lockyer, and the numbers of people who turned up to just watch Bowen ‘was a joke’.
Danny describes himself as “chilled, punctual and reliable but the moaner in the team”.
“The lads probably hate me for it but I don’t mind a good spray if someone’s not doing there job. But I’m always happy to cop it if I’m not doing my job”
He would definitely be Mr Messy in the Mr Men group. His choice for a desert island companion would be Zack McComb, who “doesn’t have an off button”.
Danny, like most players, staff and fans feel the ‘season has been very up and down’ but believes we can find some form and get to the top of the table’.