Boyhood Bulls fan Danny Bridge is bursting to play as he gears up for his possible debut against Castleford in tomorrow’s Super League opener.
The imposing Warrington forward has joined on a one-month loan deal to boost Francis Cummins’ side and was yesterday included in a 19-man squad to face the Tigers.
Bridge is the 21-year-old younger brother of former Bulls centre Chris Bridge, who he watched progress through the ranks at Odsal before moving to Warrington in 2005.
He fondly remembers watching his elder sibling play for the Bulls at the height of the club’s success under Brian Noble and is delighted he will now be wearing the red, amber and black himself.
Oldham-born Bridge, who represented Ireland at the World Cup, said: “I remember going to watch Chris when he was at Bradford and the Bulls were the team I supported when I was younger.
“I was about 11 or 12 and Chris was coming through the Academy to make his debut for the Bulls, who had a great side back then.
“I think that’s why he ended up coming to Warrington; because it was so hard to break in at Bradford with players such as Robbie Paul and Leon Pryce.”
Bridge’s arrival at the Provident Stadium underlines the strong links between Bradford and Warrington following the arrival of Matty Blythe, Ben Evans, James Saltonstall, Joe Philbin and Tom Walker.
Blythe has since become a permanent Bulls player, Evans enjoyed a successful season-long loan last year and, while Philbin and Walker recently returned to Warrington after 28-day loan spells, Saltonstall extended his stay into a second month.
Bridge’s full Warrington debut came when he deputised for Ben Westwood in the back row in a 74-4 Challenge Cup fourth-round victory at Keighley last April.
He kept his spot in the 17 for the next two matches, making his Super League debut off the bench in the Wolves’ 32-4 victory over the Bulls on April 28.
He was a substitute in the 34-12 victory at Huddersfield on May 5 and also made 13 appearances for Wolves’ partner club Swinton Lions in the Championship last year.
Now he is relishing his opportunity to play regularly in Super League at Bradford during the next month.
“I was speaking to Ben Evans about Bradford and he said coming here last year was one of the best things he’s ever done,” said Bridge.
“Playing regular first-team rugby helped him to develop a lot more and that’s what I can hopefully do under Franny.
“I’ve worked with him before with England Under-16s, and he’s a good coach, so I was happy when Tony Smith (Wolves coach) told me I could go to Bradford.
“I’ve met all the lads at training this week and there is a good group here.
“There are some really good players and the likes of Luke Gale and Jarrod Sammut are clearly very talented.
“I like how Bradford play anyway and it’s not too different to Warrington.
“They are a good bunch of lads and I’m looking forward to playing – hopefully this weekend against Cas.
“I don’t mind playing anywhere in the forwards as long as I’m playing.”
Bridge began his career at renowned Oldham-based amateur club Waterhead, which produced legends such as Kevin Sinfield, Paul Sculthorpe and Barrie McDermott.
Bridge joined Wigan’s academy in 2009 and in July 2011 he made the switch to Warrington, where he now lives with his girlfriend and their 15-month-old daughter.
He has two years remaining on his contract at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and is open-minded about what his loan spell at Bradford might lead to.
“Hopefully I’ll get a bit more game-time this season, whether it’s at Warrington, Bradford or wherever else,” said Bridge.
“That’s my main goal – to make as many Super League appearances as I can. It all depends if Tony sees me in his plans or if Franny still wants me at the end of this month.
“Later on in the season, you get injuries and you need to rest people, so hopefully I can try and break through and maybe get a few games at Warrington.”