Yesterday marked the first significant pre-season action of the New Year with six games going on featuring teams across the three divisions.
Despite all the hope and optimism of a fresh and new season it can also signify the first time that retired players get that itch to play again and reminds fans of the players that they’ve lost in the off-season, via either transfer or retirement.
Bradford Bulls were in action against Dewsbury Rams and despite a 34-16 victory the shadow of one of their star forwards, Sam Scott, having called it a day on his playing career just days earlier, was still looming.
Mark Dunning, the Bulls’ head coach, addressed the loss of Scott from their squad when speaking in a post-,match interview that was shared to the club’s Youtube channel.
“It was a bit of a blow to lose Sam especially in the way we did and it’s a bitter blow for Sam. I’m gutted for the bloke because he’s a champion bloke as well as a good rugby league player.”
The 32-year-old Scott has operated in the Championship for over a decade representing the likes of Sheffield Eagles, York City Knights and Batley Bulldogs before finding Odsal to be his home for the 2022 season.
His loss from a squad that has added the likes of Super League talents both old and young in the shape of Michael Lawrence and Jack Walker is certainly going to be a big influence as Bradford look to improve on their ninth-placed finish in 2022.
Scott has called time following a long-standing injury but conceded to the knee injury following an operation in the off-season, with the announcement coming with the Bulls’ website just days before the pre-season opener.
“I have come to this decision on the back of what has been an ongoing issue. I thought it had been resolved with an operation, and I have done everything I can.
“The medical team have been brilliant but unfortunately all good things have got to come to an end. The wear and tear have got the better of me and there’s nothing I or anyone can do about it.
“To go on record, I would like to thank Bradford for the opportunity. I have not played as much as I would have liked but they have looked after me, so I cannot fault the club at all.
“Any treatment or medical procedure has been done and part of my decision to retire now is to give a bit back to the club.
“I could have wasted a few months to see if it got better but that wasn’t in the best interests of myself or the club. I was open and honest and have come to this decision.”