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James Donaldson: I’ll stay and help Bradford Bulls through crisis
The Cumbrian back-rower – currently the top tackler in Super League with 150 in three games – has enjoyed an outstanding start to the season and his performance during Sunday’s home win over London Broncos earned him lavish praise from Francis Cummins.
The head coach labelled Donaldson’s 80-minute display “immense” but admitted that other clubs could try and lure him and others away from the Provident Stadium in the wake of the Bulls’ ownership crisis.
Garreth Carvell, Jarrod Sammut and Nick Scruton have all left since the club entered administration on January 31 but Donaldson is determined to stay loyal.
The 22-year-old, who made his debut against Castleford in 2009, said: “I’ve been at Bradford for six years now and at the moment I’m a one-club man.
“I don’t think that’s going to change because I believe in this club and I believe we can get through this period.
“You can see the character in the team and we believe we can get these points back and stay in Super League.
“There is so much negativity surrounding Bradford right now but it doesn’t matter what other people think.
“It’s about what we believe in at training and in that changing room before a game. We’re a tight group and we know we can pull ourselves through it.”
Donaldson admitted the departure of Scruton last week was another hammer blow but said he could understand his reasons for leaving.
“It was a massive decision for Scrutes,” he added.
“I was pretty upset to see him go because he’s been a good pal to me and has been here almost as long as I have.
“We’ve been through everything together and he’s just done what is right by his family, so good on him. I can understand his decision, definitely.”
Donaldson has suffered two serious injury setbacks during his career but his ability has never been in doubt.
His current one-year deal will extend into another year if he plays a certain amount of games this season.
On present form, he is making himself indispensable to Cummins.
Donaldson said: “I’ve tried to work my socks off to do everything I can to help the team.
“I’m just paying the team back for what they do for me because it’s a team sport and we all work hard together.
“I’m pretty pleased with how I’m going but there is still room for improvement.
“I’ve needed this year and the opportunity to show what I can do.
“Franny is obviously seeing how hard I’m working in training and during games, so I’m just trying to repay him and my team-mates.”
* Donaldson made a whopping 66 tackles during Sunday’s home win over London – then added to his tally after stopping burglars in their tracks later that night.
Bulls coach Francis Cummins said: “He went home and some burglar broke in, so he tackled the burglar as well and it went up to 67.”
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