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James Donaldson back on board at Bradford Bulls for next year
James Donaldson’s recent good form has been rewarded with an initial new one-year deal at the Bulls.
The former England Academy star burst onto the scene in 2009 at the age of 17 and was regarded as one of Super League’s hottest prospects.
But two serious knee injuries have curtailed progress and his future had been up in the air, with Donaldson spending much of the early part of the season playing at feeder club Dewsbury.
But once the deal from Bradford was put on the table, the Cumbrian-born loose forward was happy to sign the incentive-based contract, which will see him earn another year based on appearances.
Donaldson said: “It was always my first choice to stay at the Bulls. I’m chuffed to bits to get the deal out of the way and I can now concentrate on my rugby.
“Negotiations dragged out a bit at first. Bradford had to tell me by a certain time if they wanted me or not and they were initially not quite sure if they did.
“I had to play for my future and then Bradford have come to me and said that there’s a contract there now.
“My manager had a look around to see what was on the cards but Bradford’s the best place for me and once the deal from the club was on the table, I didn’t want to go anywhere else.
“It’s just like a new start again now. All the injuries are behind me and I’m looking ahead and looking forward to furthering my career.”
Francis Cummins was delighted to award Donaldson a deal after seeing an improvement in his game over recent weeks.
The Bulls head coach said: “It’s really pleasing for Donno because he’s not had the most straightforward career.
“He had a really good start and then he had some serious injuries – but what he hasn’t done is let us down.
“We appreciate what he is about and he appreciates us. He doesn’t want to play for any other club and I know he’ll give everything he’s got for Bradford and that’s tremendous.
“He needs to add to his game now because he’s really developing. We saw little glimpses of it at Castleford where he skirted the line and showed what he was capable of.
“Now that we’ve got more staff in we’ve got more time for everyone and we can invest more into him as well and he’s got a great attitude, which is what you want as a coach.”
Bulls deputy director Robbie Hunter-Paul was also pleased to get Donaldson on board for 2013.
“James is a tremendous young player and has lots of potential to get even better,” he said.
“He has been here a long time now and has fought back from two really bad injuries to force his way into the first-team squad. I’m delighted he is staying with us.”
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