Bradford Bulls season preview: Foster can cut it as a businessman too (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Bulls season preview: Jamie Foster can cut it as a businessman too
When a 19-year-old Jamie Foster helped St Helens put Leeds to the sword on his Super League debut in April 2010, he was mindful of his image.
Almost three years on, nothing has changed in that respect.
The new Bulls recruit still cuts a colourful figure on the field but that suits him just fine.
“When I first started playing Super League, I began wearing different coloured boots and I styled my hair,” said the 22-year-old winger.
“I then went down to Blackbrook, my local amateur club in St Helens, and all these little kids were running around looking like me!
“I was thinking ‘this can’t be right’ but because I was playing regularly on Sky there were suddenly 10,000 Jamie Fosters running around the playing fields of St Helens and Haydock, where I live.
“I thought that if they were all trying to copy what I do then I might as well push it forward into a business.”
So in May last year Foster opened a barbers shop called Style JF22 in Blackbrook, which has proved a resounding success.
“I put a couple of things on Twitter about it and all of a sudden it was a booming business,” added Foster with a huge smile.
“It’s doing really well and my mum is always in my ear about trying to expand it and maybe open another shop.
“Some people pull me about it and think I might be putting too much time into it and not into my rugby.
“But all I do is go and get my hair cut there every couple of weeks.
“I don’t manage any of the books, I have family who do it for me.
“My gran is an accountant so she sorts all that out.
“At the moment rugby is enough for me. I don’t want to be looking back when I’m 35 thinking ‘I wish I had trained a bit harder’.”
Indeed, Foster is gearing up for a big season after being recruited by Bulls coach Francis Cummins on a one-year deal.
His goalkicking, tryscoring prowess and ability to play wing, full back and centre make him a more than useful signing.
After a nightmare game for Saints in their defeat to the Bulls at Odsal, which proved to be his final appearance for his hometown club, Foster was frozen out by caretaker coach Mike Rush before being sent to Hull on loan.
He played nine consecutive games, scoring five tries and kicking 45 goals, amassing an impressive tally of 110 points to help Hull reach the play-offs.
Now he is aiming to reproduce that form in a Bradford jersey and possibly even force his way back into the international fold.
Foster explained: “Have I got England aspirations? Definitely. I’ve been there once before but a hernia operation meant I couldn’t play against France for the Knights. But absolutely I want to play for England.
“As I’ve played in Grand Finals and scored a lot of points, people put this tag on that you’re 25 or 26, but people forget I’m still only 22.
“I’ve still got it all in front of me and that’s only going to make me drive even harder to achieve success in my career.”
And he likes what he sees at Bradford, particularly the way the club came close to reaching the play-offs despite the off-field trauma of entering administration.
Foster added: “I remember thinking ‘Bradford have won at Wigan. How can that be happening with the situation they’re in?’ “All of a sudden as a player you’re thinking ‘Bradford are a force because they’re fighting for everything they’ve got.. for their livelihoods really’.
“If they can reignite that same spirit, knowing their salaries are secure, then the club can kick on.”