Hull KR players packing in to save money on daily commute

James Donaldson
James Donaldson
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DID you hear the one about six rugby league players with a combined weight of almost 100 stone crammed into a little Fiat Multipla every day?

It does sound like the start of a joke or some bizarre challenge for the Guinness Book of Records.

Admittedly, the routine trek along the M62 has been a regular occurrence for many commuting players for as long as the trans-Pennine motorway has been in existence.

But at Hull KR, some of their thrifty squad travelling in from West Yorkshire have made sure the journey is as cost effective as possible.

James Donaldson, the back-row who joined from Bradford Bulls over the winter, explained the circumstances to The Yorkshire Post.

“A few of the boys have got together to buy a Fiat Multipla,” he revealed, an image which hardly mirrors a stereotypical footballer with his luxurious sports car.

“It’s an old banger and it only cost £600 so no one really flinched at that.

“It’s a six-seater – three at the front, three in the back – and we do get six of us all in.

“There’s me, Ryan Bailey, Ben Cockayne, Tyrone McCarthy, Keal Carlile and Adam Walker so we have a bit of a laugh.

“We got it just for the travelling and it does get us over to Hull and back every day.

“It’s not letting us down, although we did get stuck on the M62 the other week when Tyrone was driving.

“But that was just because we’d run out of petrol.”

Rovers are hoping they do not run out of fuel when it comes to their Super League season in 2015.

Chris Chester’s side, who visit derby rivals Hull FC in tomorrow’s friendly, missed out on the play-offs last term after finishing ninth.

A serious overhaul to the squad has since been completed.

As well as Donaldson, two of his travelling companions are among the new arrivals with six-time Grand Final winner Bailey joining from Leeds Rhinos and ex-Warrington Wolves forward McCarthy returning to England after a spell in Australia.

With ex-Kangaroo Terry Campese and former England centre Darrell Goulding, who has joined from Wigan Warriors, there is plenty of reason for optimism.

Donaldson, 23, had his best season yet last year despite playing for a struggling Bradford side that eventually suffered relegation.

He had moved to Odsal from his Cumbrian home when aged just 16 with a reputation as the best player of his age group in the country.

Two knee reconstructions hampered his progress somewhat but, with his ceaseless work-rate in the middle, his class came to the fore in 2014.

It was no surprise another Super League club moved for him when it emerged Bulls would be in the Championship.

Now Donaldson is keen to develop his game further and will play his second game for Rovers in the derby at Hull FC tomorrow.

“I know all about this game,” he said, ahead of the friendly which is played in honour of Clive Sullivan, the legendary Great Britain winger who gained hero status for both clubs.

“Some of the boys here have never stopped talking about it. It’s a big one for the fans and, though it will be all new for me, I am excited about playing in it.

“I’ve been involved in the Leeds v Bradford derby but I do think this is the big one in Super League.

“It means so much for everyone in the city.”

On Hull KR’s chances this term, Donaldson said: “There’s been a lot of changes here and there’s a clean slate for everyone.

“Some players have signed with a point to prove and there’s a good blend of experience and youth.

“One of the reasons I came here is that it’s an opportunity for me to really kick on a bit in my career.

“After all that time at Bradford, it was really weird playing my first Rovers game in the friendly against Halifax last week.

“But it was a good run-out, I got about 60 minutes and I enjoyed it.

“Now I need to improve on that and look to cement a place here as there is a lot of competition but that’s good for me.”