Doncaster RLFC: ‘Player of the year’ Welham fits the bill for Thornton

Liam Welham
Liam Welham

Head coach Gary Thornton is resigned to losing some of his top players following the club's relegation from the Championship.

Thornton, who signed a new deal this week, accepts that some players will not fancy the drop to the third tier of rugby league and that others will be targeted by rival clubs.

But there is no doubt that one of the players he would like to retain is 26-year-old centre Liam Welham.

“He was fantastic on Sunday and he’s been good all year while I’ve been here. He’s probably my player of the season,” said Thornton.

Although Thornton has spoken to Welham it could be the end of the season before fans know if he is staying or not,

“I’ve been asked by quite a few fans, but all I’m focusing on right now are the club’s remaining games, starting with Batley on Sunday," said Welham.

“It’s obviously been a disappointing season, especially after what we achieved last year, but other clubs have dropped down a level and then bounced back and I’m sure the we will be looking to do that.

“We knew going into the Featherstone game that we were all but down and had to win.

“I thought we played well in the first half and there was a real buzz in the dressing room at half time and we all thought we could win the game.

“But whereas we’d played an expansive game in the first half I thought we played too much down the middle in the second at times.

“That wasn't playing to our strengths which is to move the ball about.”

Like everyone connected with the club, Welham has been racking his brains to come up with an answer for the club’s demise this year.

“We didn’t lose too many players we wanted to keep from last season, which was a good thing in view of how we played, so we were looking for another good season,” he said.

“Obviously injuries to key players haven’t helped, but you are always going to pick up knocks.

“There have also been a few little things which I think may have contributed. I don’t think the social side after training, for example, has been as good this year.”

However, that could be changing as a result of the recent decision to move training to Cantley Park.

“The facilities there are much better than at Lindholme,” said Welham.

“There’s a pool table too so the lads can stay back and have a bit of a laugh.”