DONCASTER Rugby League Club’s close-season signing Lee Waterman is hoping to put the boot into the club’s rivals this season starting in Sunday’s opening Northern Rail Cup pool clash at Gateshead.
Waterman has shown himself to be a good goal-kicker in the club’s three pre-season friendlies even though he he told The Star that he didn’t kick his first goal until he was in his mid teens.
“I was playing for a team run by my dad in the summer league and they didn’t have a kicker so he asked me if I would give it a try and I found that I could do it and since then it has been a natural progression to where I am today,” he said,
“I kicked for Skirlaugh and for the British amateur team (BARLA) on their Pacific Islands tour in 2009.”
No sooner had Hull-based Waterman arrived back home than he was snapped up by York City Knights in July.
His first full campaign in the paid ranks literally turned out to be a dream season for the young centre.
He finished the season as the club’s top try-scorer and top points scorer and the top points scorer in Championship One.
His scoring exploits also led to him being named in the 2010 Championship One Dream Team.
Waterman’s hopes of kicking on last season were affected by injury: “I broke my ankle and when I was fit again I played in the reserves but couldn’t get back into the first team.”
Waterman asked York to release him so he could go back to the amateur ranks. But things were to take a different direction.
“I got talking to (Dons boss) Tony Miller and he said why not come to Doncaster and start afresh,” recalled Waterman.
“I came to watch the club play Workington late last season and there was a really good atmosphere among the fans.”
Waterma has been impressed by his new team-mates in pre-season games, but says there is more to come: “It will be a great boost having Paul (Cooke) because we’ve played without a recognised half-back pairing in the three warm-up games” he said, “Paul will take a lot of pressure off scrum-half Craig Fawcett.
“We won’t be treating Gateshead lightly but they had a bad season last year and it’s a game we’ve got to be looking to win.
“We beat Hunslet at home in our first friendly, and ran Sheffield close, so they are two other pool games we could win if we are at our best.
“We’ve got York at home in our second game, which I’m obviously looking forward to.
“Even though three of the sides are Championship teams, I think we’ve got a chance of making it through to the quarter-finals.”
Having helped York win promotion to the Championship via the play-offs in 2010, Waterman knows what it takes to go up and is optimistic the Dons can achieve their goal this season, especially with four teams being promoted as part of a reorganisation of the league in 2013.