NEW Bradford loose forward John Davies admits he had seriously considered retiring after leaving Featherstone last autumn, only for a winning sales pitch from Bulls’ head coach Eamon ‘Freddy’ O’Carroll and CEO Jason Hirst to save the day.

Davies had spent eight straight seasons at Fev, but with the club preparing for the top flight, he told them he was unwilling to commit to playing rugby league full-time.

Those Super League dreams went up in smoke for Rovers after a shock Betfred Championship play-off semi-final defeat to London Broncos in October, but the decision had already been made to release the 33-year-old.

Davies recalled: “Part of the reason for me staying at Featherstone for so long was we were a competitive side and that the nucleus of the group stayed pretty similar over the eight years.

“But also it was close to home for me, my wife and kids had friends in the town and my kids did cheerleading there, so to an extent I was staying there out of ease.

“Featherstone were very much preparing to get promoted last season and at the point when it came to discussing contracts, I told them I wasn’t willing to give up my job and play full-time in Super League.

“Even without Featherstone releasing me, my wife and I were still considering the prospect of me taking some time out of the game.

“With me leaving, I thought I’d at the very least take until January to see about going back to rugby league, or even potentially retire altogether.

But Jason and Freddy invited me down to Bulls for a chat, where they explained where the club was going, and where it had been.

“My wife was there with me when I was speaking to Jason and Freddy and we were both excited to hear what the pair of them were saying.

“Their pitch to us was why it ended up being such a short turnaround between it being announced I was leaving Featherstone and being announced I was joining Bradford.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: John Davies in action on his Bulls debut against Featherstone last Sunday.John Davies in action on his Bulls debut against Featherstone last Sunday. (Image: Tom Pearson.)

Davies believes the Bulls squad can back up what Hirst and O’Carroll are saying too, adding: “A lot of clubs contacted me when they found out I was being released by Featherstone.

“But I was only really interested in joining a club I felt could be competitive at the top end of the Championship and Bradford are a club on an upward trajectory.

“Freddy has talked about the group having good accountability and pushing everyone to do even better than last year, not stagnating.

“We’ll be at a good level this season, potentially in line for promotion, but certainly looking to improve and push for silverware, like the 1895 Cup.”

An 1895 Cup final at Wembley would be a bit more high-stakes than Bulls’ friendly at Fev on Sunday, but it was a more meaningful game for Davies than most.

He said: “It was a bit weird to play against Featherstone after such a long time there, and it’s been some time since I’ve got ready in the away changing rooms.

“But life goes on, and it quickly felt like just playing a normal game in the end.

“Both sets of fans were great with me, which meant a lot, and while we were a bit disappointed with the result (a 16-12 defeat), there were a lot of disruptive in-game changes.

“Regardless, I’m sure Freddy was happy with what he got out of it.”