Hull KR star Elliot Minchella’s community club pledge ahead of England debut

Aaron Bower
Elliot Minchella Hull KR Alamy

Hull KR captain Elliot Minchella

Hull KR forward Elliot Minchella will be cheered on in Toulouse this weekend by an army of travelling support from his junior club, West Bowling – and he admits he hopes his unconventional route to top inspires others to never give up.

Minchella will cap a remarkable rise to the top of the sport by earning a first Test cap on Saturday evening in Toulouse. It is barely a handful of years since he was playing in front of a few hundred in League 1 but now, after establishing a reputation as one of the best forwards in Super League, will become a full England international this weekend.

And the 28-year-old told Love Rugby League that he hopes his story, being released by Leeds Rhinos and having to rebuild his playing career while working full-time on a building site, will prove an inspiration to players at all levels of rugby league.

“My daughter is 18 months old and I want her to look at my career and story and see that I went through some tough stuff, but came out the other side,” he says.

“Not everything is given to you in life, you have to go out and earn it. I’ve got friends who still do that part-time thing, lads who go to work every week and play on a Saturday.

“If I can send a message to people in League 1 and Championship that it is possible, not everyone goes through that conventional route of breaking through at 17 and staying there for 15 years, that’s amazing.

“If you put your mind to something and stick with it, you will get what you deserve in life. It’s a good life lesson beyond rugby league: you get out what you put in. If I can inspire just one person, I’ll be happy.”

Minchella will become the second England representative from leading amateur club West Bowling in just a few years, following in the footsteps of England forward Elliott Whitehead. Jake Trueman, another graduate of Bowling, has also been in the Great Britain squad.


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And Minchella admits he is still proud of his roots, and hopes to continue to inspire young rugby players in his hometown, as a number of the club’s players and staff – including his father, Chris – head out to France to support him on his Test debut.

“It’s a great amateur club and I’m proud that they’ve got another England international coming out of there,” he says.

“Bradford is a big hotbed of rugby league and if people can take inspiration.. look at what you achieve if you do all the right things and get a bit of luck along the way, that’s great, isn’t it?

“You never forget where you come from, I’m from Bradford and very proud to be from there. Community clubs like West Bowling are about bringing people together, letting young kids enjoy themselves and getting out there and playing rugby league. It’s what I did as a kid, I’ve got friends for life and I’ll never forget that.”

Minchella continues: “There were times in my career, all of this didn’t even come into my head. I was going to work 7am in the morning, the last thing you think of is playing in Super League, let alone for England.

“Once I got into Super League it’s something you start to think about, but I believe you have to earn the right to think about it.

“There’s so much excitement. I’ve waited so long for this moment and I won’t let it pass me by.”


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