Emotional Pritchard leaves with wider arsenal
Moments after giving a departing speech following his team's 38-12 loss to the Roosters on Friday night, grateful Bulldog Frank Pritchard thanked the club for helping him grow into the player and man he is today, something he'll use to make a fist of his time at Hull FC over the next three seasons.
Usually a comedian when it comes to his time with the media Pritchard spared a few moments to show a serious side – one that was saddened to be leaving his "brothers".
Pritchard also went on to thank his coach Des Hasler for the past four seasons spent under his tutelage and the opportunities he has been given to succeed in the Super League.
"Des has been unreal. I've learnt a lot since being under him. He has given me free reign on the field and given me a bigger leadership role. He has definitely changed my way of playing especially playing longer minutes," Pritchard said.
"He's given me the opportunity and chance to stay on as an endurance player so the confidence he has given me is awesome and I can't thank him enough."
But nothing could take away from the emotion felt following his final game in the blue and white of the Bulldogs jersey.
After a less than ideal build up where he successfully challenged a grade one dangerous contact charge at the NRL judiciary, Pritchard was still pleased to get one last game in regardless of the result.
"I gave a speech earlier to the boys that I came to the Bulldogs looking for change despite not knowing any players. But now I'll definitely be leaving with a bunch of boys who are my brothers and my family," Pritchard said.
"We have created a winning culture here at the club and the last couple of seasons we have made it to the grand final but haven't jumped that hurdle yet so it was pretty disappointing to lose this one.
"In saying that there are memories along the way to savour especially having the last word and saying bye to your teammates, your brothers – it's not easy. But I'll be watching from over there in the UK closely."
Of his move to Hull, Pritchard is already feeling the pinch from the expectations of the Airlie Birds faithful but is confident in he and his fellow Pacific Islanders who will also depart the NRL to join the club.
"They say the game is a lot harder over there so I'm looking forward to the physical battle and I'm going to a team where it's fair to say they are rebuilding at the moment," Pritchard said.
"There's a fair few guys going there in Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Sika Manu so we're going to have high expectations coming our way to help Hull FC win more games than what they have been in previous years.
"I'm going to get the mind off footy for a little bit though. I'll do some training and not get too fat and get over to Hull because they're expecting big things from me."
This article first appeared on NRL.com