Player Profile: Paul Sykes

Paul Sykes

Date of Birth: 11/08/1981
Position: Centre
Height: 5ft 10in
Weight: 14st 6.82lb

Paul Jeffrey Sykes was born in Dewsbury.  He began playing rugby for Thornhill ARLFC before signing for Bradford Bulls as a junior.  He came through the Bulls Academy but with little chance of breaking through to the first team, he was sent out on loan to the London Broncos (who now go by Harlequins RL).  He scored 40 goals and 3 tries in his first two seasons – 3 of the goals came against Bradford.

He settled in London and in 2002 signed a permanent move to the Fulham based side.  He made International appearances against New Zealand for England ‘A’ in October 2002 and followed up with a successful tour of Fiji and Tonga.  He also had a brief spell with Wakefield Rugby Union, who merged with the Bulls in 2003.

Super League was where he belonged though and despite only making 9 league appearances for the London Broncos in 2003, he still contributed 3 tries and 1 goal.  He signed for the team as a full-back but head coach at the time, Tony Rea, preferred to play him in the centre, where he thought Sykes’ strength could be more influential.

In 2004 he made 25 appearances with an impressive tally of 63 goals (4 against Bradford).  Yet, it was the following season in which he most prolific.  In 2005 he broke two club records:

Most goals in a Super League season (120) this was also the highest goal count for all players in the
2005 Super League season.

Most goals in a single game (12)

The latter of which contributed to the club’s highest scoring record in a single Super League game against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, 27th Feb, 2005 – culminating in him receiving the Supporters’ Player of the Year award 2005.

In 2006 he ruptured a kidney in a bad injury.  This sidelined him for most of the season but he made a miraculous recovery.  His shock return was, ironically, against his former Bradford club.  His team came out on top of the match in a close 28-26 victory.  His unlucky 2006 injury saw him make only 8 appearances (2 tries, 9 goals) for the now named Harlequins RL.

His 2007 season was an improvement as he was finally regaining fitness.  He scored 37 goals and 13 tries.  His incline in performance standards, since the injury, earned him a place in the Great Britain squad.  He made his debut in the 42-14 triumph over the French, in June that year.

Come the end of 2007 his partner gave birth to their child.  Keen on moving closer to his family, Sykes expressed an interest of transferring back to the club where it all began – Bradford Bulls.  Coach Steve McNamara welcomed him with open arms as he needed a replacement for the departing Ben Harris.  Steve McNamara would later use him in his Train-On Squad for the 2010 Four Nations.

Since re-signing for the Bulls, Paul Sykes has totaled 57 goals and 27 tries in 75 appearances.

Player Profile: Cain Southernwood

Cain Southernwood

Date of Birth: 04/05/1992
Position: Half Back
Height: 5ft 8in
Weight: 11st 0.32lb

Cain Southernwood was born in Smawthorne, Castleford.  He came from great rugby playing stock – his father, Graham, played as Hooker for Castleford between 1988 and 1993 and his uncle, Roy, played in the 80’s and 90’s too, starting at Castleford before transferring to Halifax and eventually, Wakefield trinity Wildcats.

Cain Southernwood began his career with his local amateur side – Smawthorne Panthers ARLFC before he was scouted by Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.  Half way the 2010 season Wakefield made a swap deal with Bradford Bulls involving Cain – exchanging him for Full Back Kieran Hyde.  Southernwood joined the Bulls on a three and half year deal whereas Hyde joined the Wildcats on a two and half year deal.  Wakefield coach at the time, John Kear, explained that despite Cain’s talent and potential, there were limited first team opportunities for him with the Wildcats.

Southernwood has made 2 academy appearances for England.  He contributed to the 2010 victory over France with a try.  His 2nd appearance came against the touring Australian Schoolboys that same year.