BARNSTORMING prop Zach Braham, who has returned to Hunslet after a spell with Betfred League 1 rivals Keighley Cougars, has issued a heartfelt `thank you’ to the Parksiders’ supporters for the warm welcome they gave him when he made his `second debut’ for the south Leeds outfit in last Sunday’s home game with Rochdale Hornets.

Braham reciprocated with enthusiastic emphasis, pulverising Hornets’ defenders from the start in a stand-out man of the match performance which helped propel Hunslet to a memorable 36-22 victory. Preparing for Saturday’s follow-up fixture at London Skolars, he said: “I have to say how much I appreciate how welcoming the fans were. It can sometimes be that supporters resent a player who has gone to a rival club but there was none of that at with Hunslet’s supporters. I really am back home.”

He continued: “I wasn’t quite settling at Keighley, as travel to and from training was difficult. I was having to leave work early, or sometimes missed training because of work, plus my ever-supportive missus, Charlotte, is pregnant. So I spoke to Hunslet’s head coach Gary Thornton about the possibility of coming back – he was also keen, and it all fell into place.”

He admitted: “I was very `up’ for it against Rochdale. It was great to get that shirt on again; the club is at my heart and I’ve always had a good relationship with the fans. And there are a lot of young lads in the team now – as a senior player I felt I had to lead by example and I was pleased with how it went.

“I’ll continue to give everything in games, get really stuck in, and put my body on the line. Not only for me but for the club, for the coaching staff, and for the fans.”

Braham had returned to a Hunslet outfit that, hit by a spate of injuries, had lost two successive matches. “GT and the supporters were gasping for a win, and I definitely noticed nerves in the camp beforehand,” he said. “There was some tension at training during the week – and prior to kick-off at the Rochdale game, when it was obvious that the players didn’t want to let their coach down. Morale was perhaps a bit on the low side after those defeats, but there’s been a real transformation this week at training, it’s amazing what a win can do. Hopefully the victory over Rochdale has given us the confidence to kick on.”

Braham, meanwhile, has extra incentive to perform well for Hunslet, over and above the immediate aim of achieving promotion from League 1. He is eligible to play for Jamaica, who will be taking part in the Rugby League World Cup in England in the autumn, and he said: “I’ve had an eye on the World Cup for some time and I want to be in it, especially as Charlotte is due to give birth in November, during the competition. I’m going to put in an extra mile by doing extra training and hopefully hit my peak form to not only help Hunslet get into the Championship but also to impress Jamaica’s selectors.”