Veteran Bulls three-quarter Raynor not ready to hang up his boots just yet (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Veteran Bulls three-quarter Gareth Raynor not ready to hang up his boots just yet
Day by day, Gareth Raynor is repaying his debt.
Given a chance to revive his career by the Bulls, Raynor still feels a need to justify their faith.
Staring retirement square in the face as he sat in a jail cell, the veteran winger found only two clubs willing to give him a chance.
Crusaders were one, having signed Raynor just four months prior to his conviction for fraud last May, but Bradford offered the more intriguing option.
The chance for an Indian summer at one of the most successful clubs in Super League history proved too good to refuse, especially as it meant minimum disruption to his Hull-based family.
So far, the 33-year-old has proved a solid signing but has plenty still to prove, particularly as his future remains up in the air.
I feel like I can still have an impact on the team and I can still perform and if I’m doing that, what’s the point in retiring?Gareth Raynor
“I’d definitely like to stay here,” said Raynor. “Bradford gave me a lifeline and I’d like to repay that faith.
“So if I was to continue, I want it to be here at Bradford because I’m happy here.
“We have got improvement in us and we can still get better because we’ve shown that, when we want to play and we want to play for 80 minutes, we can play.
“Against Catalan (last week) we thought we’d won because they had a guy got sent off and that’s what lost it for us unfortunately.
“That’s where we should be kicking on and winning the game but it wasn’t to be. We still have a lot to improve on and I want to be part of that.”
Raynor admits the idea of a 33-year-old winger is alien to most.
Gareth Thomas and Keith Senior are the only active Super League three-quarters with more miles on the clock than Bradford’s former Great Britain international and retirement may soon be on the agenda.
But Raynor isn’t ready to address that issue yet. He has scored five tries in 14 appearances this year, while providing vital go-forward early in sets, and has actually improved as the season has gone on.
He said: “I’m not ready to chuck my boots away yet. You’re long retired.
“I don’t really care about my age. Other people are probably thinking a 33-year-old winger can’t do it but it’s not about how old you are, it’s about whether you can still perform.
“I feel like I can still have an impact on the team and I can still perform and if I’m doing that, what’s the point in retiring?
“I feel I’m getting better individually and, with a few more games, can develop a bit of consistency. Hopefully that kind of consistency can transfer to the team too and we can get back-to-back wins.”
‘Consistency’ is undoubtedly the buzz word at Odsal.
After a thrilling win at Leeds the previous week, the Bulls slipped up at home to 12-man Catalan Dragons and have yet to string together three straight wins in 2011.
As a result, Bradford’s entire campaign is on the line at Castleford on Sunday. Lose and their play-off hopes will lie in tatters.
“We need to find some consistency,” said Raynor. “One week we’re up, the next week we’re down and it’s crazy really.
“We’ll be going into this next game as underdogs. Cas are a pretty good team and they chuck the ball about.
“It’s about picking ourselves up. It’s not over yet. Mathematically we can still get into the play-offs, even though Catalan was an opportunity we should’ve taken.
“That opportunity’s gone and we have to get ready for Castleford.”