Super League Heroes – Number 22
Jason Netherton was born in Hull in October 1982. His early rugby league career was at West Hull ARLC, from whence he joined the Leeds Rhinos Academy. Netherton made his Super League debut as an 18-year old for Leeds Rhinos against Hull FC at the Boulevard, making the short walk to the ground from his nearby home in a Leeds Rhinos tracksuit.
After three first team appearances for the Headingley outfit, Netherton had a short loan spell at London Broncos before signing for hometown club Rovers in 2004. He made his debut for Rovers in the second row alongside Anthony Seibold in a hard-fought 20-14 win at Halifax at the end of July that year, and was an ever-present for the remainder of that season. His first points for Rovers came in his third game, when he scored a try in a 29-18 home win over Batley Bulldogs – his first home first team appearance. The signings of Andy Raleigh and Michael Smith limited Netherton’s opportunities in 2005, but he was in the second row on one memorable day, when Rovers won their first silverware for eight years, the National League Cup, beating Castleford 18-16 at Blackpool. He later recalled of the game that, “It was a taster of what could be achieved – we wanted to be involved in more of these types of game.”
Netherton made 27 appearances in the 2006 promotion-winning season, culminating in the never-to-be-forgotten National League Grand Final win over Widnes Vikings at the Halliwell Jones stadium in October that year. Netherton made his usual whole-hearted contribution from the bench that night. He was also in the team, this time as a starter, for Rovers first ever Super League game, against Wakefield at Craven Park just four months later. He was also part of the team that secured Rovers’ Super League place for 2008, by beating old rivals Hull FC 42-6 at the KC in September 2007. Netherton scored the opening try that day, being on hand to touch down when Andreas Bauer tapped back Paul Cooke’s superb kick to the corner – his 12th try in a Rovers shirt.
2009 remains Rovers best Super League season to date, and Netherton played a full part with 23 appearances in the 32 games; he missed only four games the following season; and he remained a regular member of Justin Morgan’s matchday squad in 2011. But that was Morgan’s last season with the club, and the arrival of new Rovers coach Craig Sandercock signaled a reduction in Netherton’s first team opportunities. After making only 11 appearances in 2012, and with a year left on his contract, Netherton was released to seek new opportunities elsewhere, and headed down under to join the Mackay Cutters, the feeder club to the North Queensland Cowboys.
With Ben Cockayne by then at Belle Vue, Netherton was the last survivor of the 2006 promotion-winning side, and, in wishing him well in his new career, chairman Neil Hudgell said, “Jason has been part of the fabric of the club and will continue to be …… he is the last of the group of players who played a part in our elevation to the Super League and his contribution to the club, both on and off the field, is something he should be extremely proud of.”
Unfortunately for Netherton, the move to Australia did not work out as he hoped for, and he returned to Hull midway through the 2013 season. At the time, Rovers were struggling on the field and with injuries, and Netherton was quickly back in the fold, making his first team return in the infamous Magic Weekend derby at the Etihad of 2013, when Rovers narrow defeat, having led for most of the game, was largely the result of an inexplicable decision by the video referee.
In 2014, Netherton won a place on the bench after the first six matches had yielded only one rather scratchy win, and by the time Rovers went to Salford in early May, he had won a starting place at prop, which he retained for most of the rest of the season – including in a much happier return to the Etihad, when the Robins gained revenge over their old rivals by 38-24. At the end of that season, Netherton made his final appearance for the Robins, at Craven Park, against Catalan. By that time, he had made 194 appearances, including exactly 100 starts, and had scored 13 tries. Netherton was a coach’s player – perhaps not the biggest or the best, but a loyal servant who could always be relied upon to give his best for the cause. His determination in doing the hard yards, his tenacious defence, and his reliability were the main reasons why Justin Morgan wanted him in his squad.
Since retiring from playing, Nethertion has moved into coaching, and in July 2019 Rovers appointed him as their new Head of Academy Youth Coaching.
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