I just want to play some rugby, says Bradford Bulls new boy Blythe (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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I just want to play some rugby, says Bradford Bulls new boy Matty Blythe
In the past four seasons, Warrington Wolves have reached three Challenge Cup finals, winning them all, and a Super League Grand Final.
That Matty Blythe did not play a single minute convinced him of the need to leave Tony Smith’s star-studded squad in search of regular first-team rugby.
So when the opportunity to spend the entire 2013 campaign on loan at Bradford came along, he grabbed it with both hands.
“There’s only so much a player can take when you play well but then big stars come back in to take your place,” said the 23-year-old, ostensibly a centre who can also perform in the back row.
“I’ve been in and out for the last two years at Warrington now.
“I’m not old but I’m not getting any younger either and I need regular game-time.
“I don’t expect to walk into this Bradford team and play every week.
“I know I need to work hard and I’m relishing the challenge of doing that.”
Born in Manchester, Blythe moved to Warrington as a youngster and progressed through the ranks at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
He made his debut under Paul Cullen, progressed during Jimmy Lowes’ brief tenure but found himself on the fringes under Smith as competition increased.
A club once synonymous with underachievement are now very much the real deal, as their three Challenge Cup wins testify.
“When I was younger watching Warrington, you wouldn’t expect anything of them during the season,” admitted Blythe, who enjoyed a profitable spell at Leigh on dual registration in 2010.
“When Smithy came in, we were supposed to be a team that was unprofessional. We could turn it on in some games but we didn’t do too well in others.
“Yet the last three years at the club have been magnificent. We get looked after really well and it has showed.
“They didn’t get to lift the Super League trophy this year but they’ll be back next year, bigger and stronger no doubt.
“The likes of Brett Hodgson, Adrian Morley and Michael Monaghan are great role models and their approach does rub off on you.
“I’m looking forward to bringing to the table some of the things I’ve learned down the years.”
After taking part in Warrington’s Mad Monday in the aftermath of their Grand Final defeat last weekend, Blythe was in Bradford on Tuesday to meet with Francis Cummins and put the final touches to his cross-Pennines switch.
“I’ve got holidays booked with my mates and then I’ll probably go away with my missus as well,” said Blythe.
“I’ll be back in Bradford soon enough and working towards the start of February and the new season.
“I had a good season and my form was pretty good when I played, as it was the year before as well, but regular game-time is key.
“Going to Leigh in 2010 was a massive building block for me and the year after I played quite a lot of Super League.
“I’m looking to become a regular Super League player this year.
“Tony has just said ‘do what you do best and you will be back at the end of the year’ as I still have two years left on my contract at Warrington.
“I see this being a big year in my personal development and I won’t be coming to Bradford to make up the numbers.”
Blythe remembers well the all-conquering Bulls side which reached five successive Grand Finals between 2001 and 2005, winning three of them.
He smiled: “You had great players like Shontayne Hape, Jamie Peacock, Stuart Fielden and Jimmy Lowes.
“I grew up watching Bradford win everything and they played some great rugby league in all those Grand Finals.
“It’s games like that you want to play in and be a part of.
“You need to get there first and as a building block this club is definitely perfect for me.”
Blythe will commute to the Bulls’ training HQ at Tong from his Warrington home on a daily basis during the season.
“It’s going to pretty different being more than two minutes away like I was at Warrington,” he said.
“But I’m looking forward to it. It’s another challenge for me and I don’t shy away from them.”