Sam Wood tucks in to job as a Bradford Bulls pro

Teenager Sam Wood was working in a factory before being handed his first full-time rugby league contract with the Bulls

Teenager Sam Wood was working in a factory before being handed his first full-time rugby league contract with the Bulls

First published in Bulls Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Bulls Reporter

Sam Wood looked at home as he munched on a plate of chicken and pasta at Odsal last week.

The Bulls’ first-team squad were dining together in between training sessions and Wood chatted happily to his new team-mates, some of whom are over ten years his senior.

“I was nervous at first but I’ve started to get to know all the lads and am really enjoying it now,” said Wood, an 18-year-old centre from Halifax.

“I’ve learnt all the lads’ names and nicknames, so it’s all good.

“I’ve known Oliver Roberts for quite a while anyway through Siddal, our local amateur club, and Curtis Naughton through the Bulls Academy.

“Most of the other players in the squad are grown men, so it’s good to be able to relate to lads your own age.

“The training has been tough and my body is sore – very sore – but I’m looking forward to everything that goes with being in the first-team squad.”

The carrot for Wood, of course, and indeed Roberts and Naughton, is a potential Super League career.

All three teenagers were handed full-time professional contracts last month and with it a chance to stake their claim for stardom.

Wood was awarded a two-year deal after impressing in the Academy and Under-20s side last season.

“I was absolutely delighted,” he said.

“I was at sixth form at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School, where I finished my BTEC Sports Diploma.

I got Distinction, Merit, Merit and it’s good to have an education behind you.

“I then went straight into working in a factory called Renson Products in Halifax.

“I was just fitting stuff together and it wasn’t the most glamorous job or the best hours.

“I was only there for a few weeks and then got the call saying the Bulls wanted to take me on full-time.”

Head of youth development Paul Medley reckons Wood could play a game or two on the wing in Super League in 2013 but says none of the three youngsters’ development would be rushed.

After the Rugby Football League decided to scrap the Under-18s Academy and Under-20s Valvoline Cup competitions, Wood, Naughton and Roberts will all feature in the new Under-19s this season.

Medley feels the lean and rangy Wood, a left-sided centre, may not fully develop physically for another two or three years.

“I made about seven or eight appearances for the Under-20s last season and thoroughly enjoyed it,” explained Wood, who joined the Bulls from Siddal along with Roberts, Adam O’Brien and Jobe Murphy.

“I scored a few tries and having the likes of Chev Walker and Danny Addy in there helped.

“At the start of the season I struggled with the 20s, if I’m honest. Then I found a bit of confidence in myself after going down to 18s and I felt better when playing for the 20s again.

“I’ll be mainly playing in the Under-19s this season but training with the first-team squad.

“I’m learning a lot from the likes of Jamie Foster and Keith Lulia. Brett Kearney has helped me out a lot too.

“It’s just about taking that into the Under-19s and then hopefully I’ll get my shot in the first-team one day.

“Will Super League be a step too far this season? Maybe so, but Tom Clough (head of strength and conditioning) is spending a lot of time with Curtis, Ollie and me.

“I worked with Tom in the Academy and this will be my third or fourth year with him.

“We’ve got a good relationship going – he knows what he wants from me and vice versa.

“Hopefully Tom can put some size on us and our skill levels will pick up too by being around the first-team lads.”

Wood speaks with a maturity beyond his tender years and it is hoped that he, Roberts and Naughton will eventually make the first-team breakthrough.

“It’s a small squad, and I have thought about possibly playing for the first-team this year, but Francis Cummins knows what he’s doing,” said Wood.

“I’m there to put my winger away for a try or score a try myself. I’m here to push for Super League – that’s definitely my main target.

“We’ve got some good players, so it will be good to see what we can do this year.”

Comments (17)

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7:03am Thu 29 Nov 12

AdeyG'man says...

Ok I'm confused? If they aren't physically ready, why are they in the first team squad??
Ok I'm confused? If they aren't physically ready, why are they in the first team squad?? AdeyG'man
  • Score: 0

7:23am Thu 29 Nov 12

ifallwerelikemumby says...

I am confused, Is this a rugby forum or come dine with me ?
As for your question it takes time for bodies to change and adapt ask Helga, A few more months and the lad will be as big as a teenager just you wait and see.
I am confused, Is this a rugby forum or come dine with me ? As for your question it takes time for bodies to change and adapt ask Helga, A few more months and the lad will be as big as a teenager just you wait and see. ifallwerelikemumby
  • Score: 0

8:09am Thu 29 Nov 12

THEMANOFSTEEL says...

Lets get Marc Herbert back!!!
Lets get Marc Herbert back!!! THEMANOFSTEEL
  • Score: 0

8:14am Thu 29 Nov 12

ifallwerelikemumby says...

4 more signings needed, 2 props, 1 half back and 1centre.
4 more signings needed, 2 props, 1 half back and 1centre. ifallwerelikemumby
  • Score: 0

8:55am Thu 29 Nov 12

Mumby was the best says...

THEMANOFSTEEL wrote:
Lets get Marc Herbert back!!!
Didn`t he set off to tour europe after being released. Hope he was better at touring, if not we will probably find him wandering lost round Hull!
[quote][p][bold]THEMANOFSTEEL[/bold] wrote: Lets get Marc Herbert back!!![/p][/quote]Didn`t he set off to tour europe after being released. Hope he was better at touring, if not we will probably find him wandering lost round Hull! Mumby was the best
  • Score: 0

9:09am Thu 29 Nov 12

Solomon Grundy says...

Good luck to the young lads I really hope they make it. But it sound slike these guys are all some time away from featuring in SL, if that is within their capabilities.

So that means they are in the first team squad to make it look like we have 26. We don't. We have barely 21, two of whom are injured already.
Good luck to the young lads I really hope they make it. But it sound slike these guys are all some time away from featuring in SL, if that is within their capabilities. So that means they are in the first team squad to make it look like we have 26. We don't. We have barely 21, two of whom are injured already. Solomon Grundy
  • Score: 0

9:17am Thu 29 Nov 12

Mumby was the best says...

Think they are in the squad to prepare them for the jump from part time academy to full time SL. But yes good luck they are the future.
Think they are in the squad to prepare them for the jump from part time academy to full time SL. But yes good luck they are the future. Mumby was the best
  • Score: 0

9:41am Thu 29 Nov 12

Bone_idle18 says...

So other teams don't do the same? Every team has youngsters in their squads, and every team have a number of squad players who don't feature in SL all season, but it prepares them for the following season.

Full time training and mixing with the first team really makes a difference.
So other teams don't do the same? Every team has youngsters in their squads, and every team have a number of squad players who don't feature in SL all season, but it prepares them for the following season. Full time training and mixing with the first team really makes a difference. Bone_idle18
  • Score: 0

10:01am Thu 29 Nov 12

Steam Pigs says...

How many games did McAvoy, Ball and Murphy play last season? all had squad numbers
How many games did McAvoy, Ball and Murphy play last season? all had squad numbers Steam Pigs
  • Score: 0

11:27am Thu 29 Nov 12

raisemeup says...

THEMANOFSTEEL wrote:
Lets get Marc Herbert back!!!
Or not quite like before. This time lets leave him at home and pay him a shed load of cash for doing nothing, and at least we save the return flight costs? How's that for a plan?
That is something that will never happen again, hopefully.
[quote][p][bold]THEMANOFSTEEL[/bold] wrote: Lets get Marc Herbert back!!![/p][/quote]Or not quite like before. This time lets leave him at home and pay him a shed load of cash for doing nothing, and at least we save the return flight costs? How's that for a plan? That is something that will never happen again, hopefully. raisemeup
  • Score: 0

11:31am Thu 29 Nov 12

Mumby was the best says...

Raise are you mixing him up with Matt Orford?
Raise are you mixing him up with Matt Orford? Mumby was the best
  • Score: 0

11:36am Thu 29 Nov 12

raisemeup says...

Bone_idle18 wrote:
So other teams don't do the same? Every team has youngsters in their squads, and every team have a number of squad players who don't feature in SL all season, but it prepares them for the following season.

Full time training and mixing with the first team really makes a difference.
It is a way of having a structured squad of players who all train the same way under the same conditioning and coaching techniques it also secures a contracted player, AKA Elliot Whitehead, John Bateman for example were all brought up through these structures.(I also remember Jamie Langley-Leon Price, and the Burgess brothers 3 who came up the same way)
So you are bang on the button BI18.
[quote][p][bold]Bone_idle18[/bold] wrote: So other teams don't do the same? Every team has youngsters in their squads, and every team have a number of squad players who don't feature in SL all season, but it prepares them for the following season. Full time training and mixing with the first team really makes a difference.[/p][/quote]It is a way of having a structured squad of players who all train the same way under the same conditioning and coaching techniques it also secures a contracted player, AKA Elliot Whitehead, John Bateman for example were all brought up through these structures.(I also remember Jamie Langley-Leon Price, and the Burgess brothers 3 who came up the same way) So you are bang on the button BI18. raisemeup
  • Score: 0

2:01pm Thu 29 Nov 12

ifallwerelikemumby says...

4 more players needed so dig deep Omar son don't be tight now or get gerry to cough up instead of just taking glory.
4 more players needed so dig deep Omar son don't be tight now or get gerry to cough up instead of just taking glory. ifallwerelikemumby
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Thu 29 Nov 12

raisemeup says...

ifallwerelikemumby wrote:
4 more players needed so dig deep Omar son don't be tight now or get gerry to cough up instead of just taking glory.
You are like a kid with a fever...one minute hot next minute cold. then being a nasty bad tempered little bl...er, whose just been potty trained but still manages to soil his pants, unfortunately all over us!
If we have to put up with you at all, please will you take your *Calpol, after the Rhino kid has had his dose?
(* Calpol is a branded medicine specially designed for toddlers)
[quote][p][bold]ifallwerelikemumby[/bold] wrote: 4 more players needed so dig deep Omar son don't be tight now or get gerry to cough up instead of just taking glory.[/p][/quote]You are like a kid with a fever...one minute hot next minute cold. then being a nasty bad tempered little bl...er, whose just been potty trained but still manages to soil his pants, unfortunately all over us! If we have to put up with you at all, please will you take your *Calpol, after the Rhino kid has had his dose? (* Calpol is a branded medicine specially designed for toddlers) raisemeup
  • Score: 0

4:22pm Thu 29 Nov 12

raisemeup says...

Mumby was the best wrote:
Raise are you mixing him up with Matt Orford?
Two air fares then?
[quote][p][bold]Mumby was the best[/bold] wrote: Raise are you mixing him up with Matt Orford?[/p][/quote]Two air fares then? raisemeup
  • Score: 0

4:32pm Thu 29 Nov 12

raisemeup says...

Sam if you are reading the article on your computer, and let's face it who wouldn't want to read a good interview like the one you gave to the T&A.

Good Luck son we really look forward to seeing you in the first team line up. From what I've seen and heard you are gonna be great.

Disregard a lot of what you read on here, we have a lot of banter with the odd couple of Trolls who exist just to be a local parasitic under skin irritant.
Ignore them, we understand they applied for the job of "Village Idiots" but they were over qualified???
Sam if you are reading the article on your computer, and let's face it who wouldn't want to read a good interview like the one you gave to the T&A. Good Luck son we really look forward to seeing you in the first team line up. From what I've seen and heard you are gonna be great. Disregard a lot of what you read on here, we have a lot of banter with the odd couple of Trolls who exist just to be a local parasitic under skin irritant. Ignore them, we understand they applied for the job of "Village Idiots" but they were over qualified??? raisemeup
  • Score: 0

11:56pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Meningascoming says...

Hey Raise you are at it again with your negative threads - forget the calpol try good old gripe water - works a treat !
Hey Raise you are at it again with your negative threads - forget the calpol try good old gripe water - works a treat ! Meningascoming
  • Score: 0

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