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Brett Kearney can be inspiration to Curtis Naughton at Bradford Bulls
Bulls rookie Curtis Naughton believes he is learning from one of the best in Brett Kearney.
Naughton and fellow teenagers Sam Wood and Oliver Roberts are acclimatising to life in the first-team squad after being handed full-time professional contracts.
The highly-rated trio will feature in the under-19s side this coming season as they gradually prepare for the rigours of Super League.
Naughton, who hails from Dewsbury and has spent the past four years on the Bulls’ books, will work closely with Kearney as part of his development after signing a three-year deal last month.
“Brett Kearney is a great player to work with and learn from,” said the 17-year-old full back.
“He’s done the business in the NRL and has proved himself one of the best in his position in Super League.
“I’m looking forward to learning more from him during the rest of pre-season.
“Hopefully he can teach me a lot and I can continue progressing in the under-19s and then push for the first team in the next couple of years.
“The aim is to play in the under-19s this season and then break into the first team next year or the year after.
“I just need to build myself up. I’m still growing and I need to put a bit more weight on.”
Tom Clough, the Bulls’ new head of strength and conditioning, is working with the first-team players on an individual basis.
Naughton believes he will reap the benefits of Clough’s meticulous approach and says he has no desire to join partner club Dewsbury Rams in order to gain first-team experience.
Naughton, who progressed through the ranks at Shaw Cross amateur club in Dewsbury, said: “Tom worked with us in the under-18s and is an excellent conditioner.
“I might get a few minutes in one of the pre-season friendlies but it will be under-19s this season for me, I think.
“I want to stay at Bradford anyway. I don’t want to get loaned out. Like I say, there is no better player to learn from than someone like Brett Kearney.”
Naughton draws confidence from the success of Adam O’Brien and John Bateman in progressing from the youth ranks into the first team.
He said: “John and Adam are definitely an inspiration. They have showed that no matter how old you are, you can achieve your goal of getting into the first team. If you dedicate yourself, you can get there.”
Meanwhile, the Bulls have announced the first-team squad will be training a number of local amateur sides at the Provident Stadium on December 1, the deadline for early-bird season tickets.
The day will also see the club launch their new home shirt and take pre-orders in time for Christmas delivery. The squad will be on hand from 11am and pre-orders will be taken in the Coral Stand from midday until 2pm.