Brighouse Town right-back Ben Thornton had two extra spectators at home to Scarborough Athletic on Monday in Doncaster rugby league coach Gary Thornton and Queensland Fury left wing-back Joe Thornton.
Gary, then coach at York City Knights, was a regular at the Dual Seal Stadium when his 20-year-old son Joe was playing for Town following his release from Bury. He would also watch his nephew Ben.
“It was good to come back and see the lads in action,” said Gary. “Joe is in his last week now of a four-week holiday from Robbie Fowler’s old side. When he returns he will be playing in his second season with them.
“Playing on consistently good firm pitches and in good weather, Joe has come on leaps and bounds and was selected for Queensland Under-23s to play against Brisbane Roar.
“They appear to be delighted with him, so his time under Paul Quinn, Mark Booth and Rob Wilson at Brighouse Town, and at Gigg Lane for two seasons as an apprentice, has served him well. He is also now part of Fury’s academy coaching team, taking their Under-9s and Under-10s teams.
“It’s a good standard the league Brighouse Town are playing in and Joe was the first on Monday to say it has stood him in good stead for what lies ahead for him.
“He is enjoying his time in Australia. Joe has ambitions to work his way up the Australian A League and is determined to put the work in to achieve it.”
For Drighlington-based Gary it was back to training on Tuesday night for the Doncaster team at the Cantley training ground they now share with Doncaster Rovers, after the facilities at Lindholme Prison were far from professional. “To be honest it is paying off as the quality of players we are now signing is due to the facilities we have at our disposal,” he added.