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Jarrod Sammut: 100% effort sows seeds for bright Bradford Bulls future
Much was made of the trauma which threatened to bring the Bulls to their knees during 2012, and understandably so, but Jarrod Sammut has his own theory on it all.
He believes the way the club rallied together at a time of crisis can lay the foundations for a bright future under new coach Francis Cummins.
Let it be remembered that Mick Potter and his entire coaching team were made redundant on July 2.
Consider, too, the uncertainty that hung over Potter’s players as they constantly worried about whether they would get paid.
They could easily have thrown in the towel.
Instead, they showed remarkable resilience to keep their play-off hopes alive until the final round of the season, when their six-point administration penalty finally told.
“People expected us to not really give a hoot but at Bradford we don’t have that attitude,” said Sammut, who along with Bulls team-mate Elliot Kear went through a similar ordeal with their former club Crusaders.
“As a team we did well and that’s something to build on next year.
“Obviously we didn’t make the finals, which is what we would have liked, but we can definitely take that momentum into next season.
“As a group, the team morale – and the environment that we were in – is there now.
“That Leeds game at Odsal was probably the highlight for me. It just let everyone know the attitude of the club and underlined the fact that the players will always put in 100 per cent effort, no matter what’s happening off the field.”
It is heartening to hear those kind of words uttered by a player who turned down offers from elsewhere to stay at Bradford on a new two-year deal.
It has afforded the 25-year-old Malta international the chance to cement a regular half-back partnership with Luke Gale and make up for lost time after two injury blows during his debut campaign at Odsal.
“It was an up-and-down season for me and a few things didn’t go to plan,” reflected Sammut.
“I tore my posterior cruciate ligament against Widnes at Easter and that kept me out for almost three months, which put a lot of things into perspective.
“It doesn’t matter how well you look after yourself, there are always going to be some things that are out of your control.
“Things don’t always go to plan but I was well looked after by the physio and our training staff.
“It was unfortunate that during the Wigan game I aggravated the same injury. You can’t legislate for things like that because it’s a tough, contact sport and these things happen.
“Apart from the injuries, at times I felt as though the harder I tried, the more things didn’t come off.
“But the great thing about rugby league is that you’ve got 80 minutes to play and there’s always time to try and make your mark.”
Sammut did that in style during the final-day defeat to Catalan Dragons, scoring four tries in Perpigan in an emphatic reminder of his talent.
And with all respect to Crusaders – where he made his Super League name before a similar financial meltdown – the stand-off is now playing for a genuine powerhouse of rugby league.
“This is Bradford Bulls we are talking about here – the history of the club speaks for itself,” said Sammut.
“It wasn’t so long ago that they won titles year after year and were always high up the table. That’s something which every club in the competition strives to achieve.
“Bradford have achieved just about everything possible in the game and, even though I grew up in Australia, I always heard about the Bulls winning things. Everyone back home talked about them.”
Sammut is happily settled in the area and that persuaded him to extend his stay at Odsal.
The former Crusaders man will be back at his old stomping ground on Saturday to watch Wales host England at the Racecourse Ground.
Sammut said: “The people around here are very nice and that helps.
“Where I’m living is close and convenient to everywhere and it didn’t seem the right time to get up and leave. I feel at home here in Bradford.”