We've got a top prop in Kaufusi, says Bradford Bulls boss Cummins (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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We've got a top prop in Kaufusi, says Bradford Bulls boss Francis Cummins
Francis Cummins has backed new recruit Antonio Kaufusi to make a “huge impact” as the Bulls seek to climb off the foot of the table with victory over Warrington tomorrow.
The 29-year-old Huddersfield prop has joined on an initial one-month loan deal and will make his debut against the Wolves tomorrow.
Tonga-born Kaufusi, who joined the Giants from London at the end of last season, has a wealth of experience following stints with Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights and North Queensland Cowboys.
He also won representative honours with Australia, Queensland, Tonga and the Exiles and has made nine Super League appearances for Paul Anderson’s side this season.
Head coach Cummins said: “We are absolutely delighted to have someone of Antonio’s ability on board.
“He is an exceptional talent who packs plenty of power and presence.
“He brings further experience to our team and we are sure he will make a huge impact during his time here.
“Antonio has representative honours, which are not easy to come by, and has spent a huge amount of time playing at the top level – both in Super League and the NRL.
“I am sure he will fit straight in and I look forward to seeing what he can do.”
The arrival of Kaufusi is a major boost to the Bulls ahead of tomorrow’s game after Manase Manuokafoa, Jamal Fakir, Dale Ferguson and James Donaldson were all ruled out through injury.
Yet Cummins believes his side can build on last week’s victory over Catalan in the Challenge Cup with a first Super League win in eight games.
He added: “We had three or four brain explosions but then we started to gain in confidence – we were measured in what we did and we stuck to the gameplan.
“Now we need to make sure that we’re in a good position to get a win this weekend and start to climb back up the ladder.”
Warrington have lost five times in Super League already this season as they come to terms with life after Lee Briers, Brett Hodgson, Adrian Morley and Garreth Carvell.
Cummins said: “Lee Briers basically ran the team for Warrington and his understudies are now learning to be the top gun.
“That’s the transition that can happen and they have had a tough start to the season by their standards.
“But that probably makes them more dangerous. You saw on Good Friday when they played Widnes; when the ball sticks and they are on the front foot, they can take you to task.”
The Wolves are again without Stefan Ratchford so former Bradford centre Chris Bridge is expected to line up in the halves alongside Gareth O’Brien.
Richie Myler, Ben Westwood, Simon Grix and Paul Wood are also missing through injury but Ben Evans, who enjoyed a successful loan spell with the Bulls last season, looks certain to feature.
Matty Blythe, meanwhile, is remaining upbeat following the knee injury he suffered against Leeds last month, which has sidelined him for eight weeks.
The former Warrington man said: “It’s a weird one because I don’t feel as if I’ve done that much but I’ve actually torn my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and have some damage at the back of my knee which needs strengthening back up as well.
“No surgery is required, which is good, so I’ll just get on with my rehab now and keep fit as well.
“I thought I was getting back into some form and was enjoying playing and being around the lads and then this happens.
“I was down for a couple of days but we’ve all got jobs to do, especially us injured lads who need to work hard. Hopefully I’ll be back in six or seven weeks.”
Blythe, meanwhile, has backed his old club to cope with the loss of so many key players.
He added: “A few young lads have been getting a shot and I’ve been hearing around the town that they have been doing pretty well.
“Obviously they have lost a few good players through retirement and players going elsewhere but a lot of clubs go through that type of transition.
“That’s probably what they are going through now. Lee Briers is a massive loss but they’re a good enough side to overcome those losses.
“It’s still early in the year and they will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.”
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