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James Donaldson delighted to be back in Bradford Bulls action
James Donaldson admitted he had been to “hell and back” after finally ending his injury nightmare during Saturday’s home defeat to St Helens.
The Bulls were beaten 36-10 by Nathan Brown’s men but Donaldson’s first Super League action for over 12 months marked a major positive.
The highly-regarded back-rower enjoyed a couple of stints off the bench at loose forward after being picked ahead of Jobe Murphy.
Donaldson, 21, had not played since being sidelined by the second serious knee injury of his career against Castleford last February.
“I’ve been to hell and back these last few years, so there’s no better feeling than playing again,” he said.
“Sometimes you think you’re never going to see the day that you get back out there. I know that sounds stupid but each one of these knee injuries put me out for a year.
“To be able to get back out onto the field with the lads for a club I want to be at and love playing for, there is nothing better. I felt really fit and could have stayed out there longer.”
Bulls coach Francis Cummins gave Donaldson the nod after the Cumbrian’s three recent appearances for Championship outfit Dewsbury.
“At the start of the week I had a word with Franny but wasn’t sure where I was at,” said Donaldson.
“I just had to work hard in training and see whether it was me or Jobe. Franny gave me the shout towards the end of the week and obviously I was delighted.”
Cummins, who revealed joint-captain Matt Diskin was withdrawn due to a dead leg, said: “Donno came up with a good spell and he steadied the ship a little bit.
“He’s very good at the defensive side and now we’ve got another player in the squad pushing for a spot.”
Cummins admitted the Bulls were heavily punished for their dismal start but took the positives from their vastly-improved second-half display.
He said: “I was pleased with the fightback in the second half and you could see our spirit. We were able to trade sets but we need a bit more than that to beat teams like St Helens.”