Some fans said I was finished but look at me now – Scruton is Bradford Bulls' comeback king (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Some fans said I was finished but look at me now – Nick Scruton is Bradford Bulls' comeback king
Nick Scruton was, quite literally, centre stage on Tuesday night as he collected a handful of prizes at the Bulls’ end-of-season awards evening.
“It’s getting embarrassing now,” said Scruton with a huge smile after being summoned to receive the coveted players’ player and supporters’ player of the year awards.
Scruton had already won the Telegraph & Argus player of the year, the Prize Bull award from Francis Cummins and the best forward trophy.
“I think I should have won best back too!” he joked.
Cue laughter all round.
Here was a player taking the plaudits from his team-mates, coaching staff and supporters after an outstanding campaign.
It was a scenario that few would have predicted 12 months ago.
After two injury-plagued seasons, Scruton could have thrown in the towel.
“People had written me off,” admitted the 28-year-old former Leeds prop, who was sidelined by a shoulder injury for much of last year.
“I read comments from fans online and they were saying ‘why are we keeping Scruton? He’s finished. He can only play a few games and will be injured by round four’.
“I was sixth-choice prop last year, my shoulder was in bits and I didn’t really get on with Mick Potter.
“He didn’t rate me at all and completely disowned me. I was thinking ‘Oh my God, what can I do?’”
Potter left the club at the end of the season, leaving Cummins to rebuild a squad decimated by a raft of departures.
The new Bulls coach questioned Scruton’s desire and laid down a challenge to a player he knew well from their time together at Leeds.
Scruton explained: “We all had our end-of- season reviews and Franny said ‘are you ready for packing it in, Scrutes?’
“I said ‘no, no I’m not yet’ but he said ‘I think you’ve had it, I just don’t think you’re with it any more. Can you carry on? Can your body handle it?’
“He thought I was ready to quit and that kind of kick-started me. I was like ‘right, Franny, I’ll chuffin’ show you!’
“So I got into pre-season and my shoulder felt good and my wrist felt good.
“All my little niggles had cleared up and I just ripped into pre-season as hard as I could.
“That gave me the platform then to go on and have a good year.”
Scruton, an insulin-dependent diabetic, has played in every Super League game this season and been a model of consistency.
Sadly, his 100 per cent record will end this weekend.
He broke his right hand earlier in the season and managed to play on but dislocated a thumb against London last weekend and will play no part in Saturday’s final-day home clash with Huddersfield.
Scruton revealed: “I actually broke my hand the week before we played Leeds at home in mid-season.
“I had cracked one of the metatarsals but it was underneath an existing plate that I’d had done already after previous surgery.
“So I was told that as long as I could handle playing then I could go out there and play.
“I’ve played every game this year and it’s disappointing to miss this last one, especially after winning all these awards.”
Getting married to his partner Alice last November helped give Scruton renewed focus for this season, as did the birth of the couple’s first child George.
Scruton, who said he would like to stay at Bradford beyond the end of next season when his current deal expires, explained: “I’ll be the first to admit that, while I’ve always taken my rugby seriously, I’ve also been a daft lad as well.
“Getting married and having a kid settles you down and helps you concentrate on the things that are important.
“I want to make my wife and my little boy proud. I love it when he comes to the games so I want to play well for them.”
The good news is that Scruton feels there is plenty more to come.
“I know for a fact I can get better next season,” he said.
“There is stuff that I want to get better at and I’m never happy with how I play.
“I’m looking forward to my best years being ahead of me.”
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