WIBSEY RUFC stars Ryan Smith and Michael Kite have ventured into unusual territory, by temporarily joining rugby league side, West Bowling.

After 18 months away from rugby due to the pandemic, the experienced Wibsey pair have both joined up with the league side, at the request of Chairman, Steve Brooke.

September 4 is the date Wibsey’s union campaign commences, and with the season fast approaching, Brooke felt it was necessary two of his key stars went away to gain match fitness in the lead up to next season.

He said: “They’ll definitely be coming back to us for the new season.

“I encouraged them to go and play league, because they haven’t played for the last 18 months, so hopefully it ensures they come back fit and ready for the start of the season."

Asked about, what can players learn from playing both sides of the rugby code, Brooke said: "Ryan and Michael both have experience playing league already, from when they first started. They played for Wibsey Warriors, so it's all not that different for them.

"Personally, I think they're completely different games, just with the fairly obvious similarities, like passing backwards and kicking.

"But the most important thing for them going there is for fitness reasons. I think you'll probably find that rugby league players are a little bit fitter.

"I think they will be a lot fitter when they return to us. You can do as much training as you want, but there is nothing better than match fitness.

"They are two of our senior players, so we always want our older heads around, when we are bringing young lads through."

And in line with the fixture list announcement, Brooke is excited by the prospect of his club returning to competitive rugby.

They will host Hemsworth on September 4, and discussing the matter, he said: "I think everybody wants to get back to some sort of normality.

"It's nice to get back to having a game, seeing the fans there, the socialising and it's just what we need after the year or so we've had."

Ahead of a busy campaign, Brooke suggested that Wibsey will be looking to bring in players and emphasised the importance of bringing new faces through the door.

He said: "We're on the lookout, that's for sure. We haven't got names at the minute, but every club is always looking I think, especially when we haven't been able to do anything for so long. We don't want to bring loads in because you're then saying to your existing players that they're not good enough, which is totally not true. But we'll always try to bolster the squad and one thing's for certain, teams are always looking for a prop."