Dons: Long-serving Bell calls time on fitness job

Pete Bell, Doncaster RL club.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Pete Bell, Doncaster RL club. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Pete Bell, Doncaster Rugby League Club’s fitness conditioner for over a decade, is stepping down.

“I’ve told new head coach Paul Cooke that I’ll work with him and help him out with things such as nutrition but I don’t want the responsibility for the whole set-up,” said Bell,” a former PTI with the Prison Service.

“I’m 64 and I feel that I can’t go on forever, though because I’m such good friends with Tony (Miller) I would probably have done another year had he continued as head coach.

“I’ve worked under a lot of coaches since Singe (Ian St John Ellis) brought me to the club and I’ve enjoyed working with them all, especially Tony and his No 2 Mick Heptinstall, who is also a very good coach.”

Typical of a man renowned for his modesty, Bell is quick to give credit to forward Matt Carbutt and winger Stu Sanderson for their help with the conditioning programme and the squad who staged several spectacular late comebacks to snatch a result.

“The players I’ve worked with over the last couple of seasons are the best bunch I’ve ever worked with,” he said. “They have been easy to work with and easy to train and that’s one of the reasons I’ve offered to do a bit for Cookie next season.”

Bell has no doubts he is leaving the Dons in a good place.

“Although it was disappointing to lose to Dewsbury in the first round of the play-offs, I thought the season as a whole was an outstanding success, especially with the budget that we were having to work with.

“Tony turned some average players, and to be honest Paul Cooke also had a hand in that, into some very good players as well as creating an excellent team spirit, and we exceeded all expectations by finishing sixth.”

“I think that the team will do well next season.”