HAVING worked his way through the academy ranks at Wigan Warriors, North Wales Crusaders’ latest signing, Brett Whitehead, is now looking to prove himself at the Wrexham based side.
Whitehead began his career at amateur level with Blackpool, a time which he remembers well: “Blackpool were my local side and it was great to play for them.
“I really enjoyed my time there, I even remember training with the first-team when I was about 16 along with Jonny [Leather] who was playing for them at the time.”
Following a number of years within the amateur ranks, Whitehead secured a place in the academy setup at Super League outfit Wigan Warriors.
After leaving the Warriors academy, he crossed codes where he spent a brief period playing for Fylde RUFC.
Whitehead’s return to rugby league came via the 2017 ‘Hunslet Rookie’ day, a trial day at League One side Hunslet RLFC, where he was picked up by coaches and offered a contract.
However, Whitehead admits that opportunities to prove himself in the Hunslet side were difficult to come by: “The trial day at Hunslet was fantastic, he said.
“It was a great experience and to go on and win the day and get offered a contract by Hunslet was brilliant.
“Unfortunately for one reason or another things didn’t work out and I wasn’t given the opportunity to show what I could do.”
This led to him securing a loan deal until the end of last season with Hemel Stags.
“With my opportunities limited at Hunslet, I pushed to go out on loan, he said.
“Hemel was the option on the table so I took it and gained some valuable experience down there.
“The travelling from Blackpool was a bit of a nightmare, but I enjoyed playing and enjoyed getting some game time under my belt.”
Whitehead also recalls facing the Crusaders during his time with the Stags. He said: “To be honest I probably played one of my best games against the Crusaders last season.
“I remember the fans more than anything, they came down in numbers and were making a lot of noise throughout the game.
“They also congratulated the Hemel lads after the game which says a lot about both them and the club.
“The other thing that stood out after the game was how the Crusaders squad and staff were in the bar afterwards – it seemed like they were a tight knit group and that was great to see.”
Having looked at his options for 2018, Whitehead spoke to Crusaders head coach Mike Grady before deciding to join the Welsh outfit. A decision which he is delighted with: “I’m really happy to have joined the club and can’t wait to be part of it and to play in front of the fans week in week out.
“It seems like a fantastic club and it’s also much closer to home which is an added bonus for me.
“I want to repay Mike [Grady] and Jonny for bringing me here and showing faith in me.
“I’m here to prove myself and I can’t wait to get going.”