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Warrington Wolves' Chris Bridge eager to pass on advice
CHRIS Bridge has the wisdom of 200 matches in primrose and blue over 10 years to pass on to the young professionals at Warrington Wolves.
It has been a milestone year for the utility back, passing the career 1,000 points mark and taking on more responsibility with play-making and goal-kicking duties after several seasons hampered by injury.
He arrived from Bradford Bulls as a 20-year-old in 2005, having already gained some Super League experience and been a shining light on the England Academy scene.
Now as one of Wolves’ senior players – and his 21-year-old brother Danny among the new breed fighting for spots in Tony Smith’s first team – he wants those teammates to learn from his experiences.
“I came here in 2005 and it’s gone too fast,” said Bridge, who hails from Oldham.
“You don’t realise how fast it passes you by. Before you know it, you’ve done 10 years in the game.
“I turned 30 (July 5), which is old, and my brother and the rest of the lads keep reminding me.
“I’d say to them to make sure they enjoy their rugby, always do their best and put everything they can into it.
“Early on in my career I took it for granted. I didn’t appreciate what I had.
“It took me until my mid-20s to really concentrate on my rugby really. My rugby wasn’t first in my life – I was going out a lot and doing what I wanted.
“When you’re young you need to get your priorities straight. It’s a short career and you don’t want to look back at some of the years that you’ve wasted.”
Bridge said becoming a father helped him to ‘grow up’ and after several seasons interrupted by recurring injury – which followed making it in the centres at senior international level with England – he is enjoying his rugby and has his sights on fresh achievements.
Injury robbed him of Challenge Cup Final appearances with Wolves in 2010 and 2012, along with Grand Final selection two years ago, but he did line up in the 2009 Wembley showdown with Huddersfield and Old Trafford loss to Wigan last October.
Contributing to the League Leaders’ Shield success of three years ago stands out, but that year did not end on a happy note.
“I’d say the 2011 season is my highlight so far,” he said.
“We had a really good year and that was the year we should have won the title really.
“We were the best team overall, won the League Leaders’ Shield and I think we let ourselves down a little bit.
“In that play-offs loss to Leeds, it was just one of those games where it was so close and you end up losing from a bounce of the ball.
“But I’ve still got a few years left in me. I’d like to go out and have a win in the Grand Final at Old Trafford but generally just to play well and be consistent.”
For now, Bridge goes into Sunday's game with London Broncos looking to extend his fine sequence of having scored eight tries in the last four visits by the club from the capital.