A RIPPING hat trick of tries from Gareth Greenwood against Redcar last week showed Huddersfield YMCA fans just what he is capable of – when given enough of the ball for a change!
But then the 25-year-old Halifax man does have Super League experience with Huddersfield Giants rugby league club as well as Halifax Blue Sox, so it is hardly surprising that he has already caught the eye in his fledgling amateur career with the YMCA.
It was with the Blue Sox that Greenwood (seen in action) started his professional career after signing for the Shay based-side as a 17-year-old.
“I played rugby league at Siddal as a youngster before joining Halifax, with whom I had three seasons before moving to Huddersfield for one season when Tony Smith (now the England coach) was in charge there,” said Greenwood, who more recently was playing in the National League with Hunslet.
“I really fancied a go at rugby union, as I thought it would be good to learn the rules. So I spent a short time at Halifax, when Arron Canning was playing there and Kevin McCallion was the coach. And although I never played with Jamie Marsden, I’d certainly heard about and knew of him.
“Then I decided to move across and join the YM, because I knew they played in Yorkshire I. And although I didn’t know too much about the standard, I thought it would be a good starting point.
“It’s also very handy as I now live in Elland.”
And so far Greenwood is really enjoying his conversion to the 15-a-side game, although he acknowledges that after having had only eight or nine run-outs so far, he still has a lot to learn.
“I’ve always played either hooker or loose forward at rugby league, but there is such a huge difference in the two codes for forwards, that at the moment I’m quite happy out of the way in the threequarters, although I must admit, I do miss the involvement because I’ve always been used to being in the thick of the action.”
After the pretty nifty turn of foot he showed in blazing down half the length of the field for his opening try against Redcar last Saturday, Greenwood admitted that he has been working hard on his fitness and basic foot speed. And for a hooker, he’s certainly not out of place now in YM’s back line.
“Since the new coaches took over, things are a lot different, and there is now a more professional feel to the set-up,” added Greenwood.
“Since the new players signed on, the back line is now really good, particularly at that level. In fact, I think they could now comfortably play a couple of levels higher without being out of place.
“And if they continue to get a fair share of the ball like they did against Redcar, then I’m sure they are going to score a lot of points in the coming games.”
Greenwood, who works for a pupil referral unit in Calderdale, believes YM can still retain their place in Yorkshire I this season, although (with two to go down) they were still second from bottom going into today’s clash at Keighley.
“There are now a few experienced and quality players at Laund Hill, and I don’t see any reason why we can’t win three or four the remaining six games this season and stay up.”
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that Greenwood will be here until the end of season or beyond.
“Although I am enjoying playing union with the YMCA and would like to carry on doing so, one or two professional rugby league clubs have been speaking to me, so I am going to have to make a decision about my future pretty soon.”
After last week’s quality finishing, it would be great shame if the Laund Hillers were deprived on his undoubted ability which could help spearhead their drive out of the danger zone.