Danny McGuire will take centre stage tomorrow when Leeds host the Bulls in his testimonial match – but the occasion also marks Francis Cummins’ first return to Headingley since he became a head coach.
The Bradford boss ended a 17-year association with the Rhinos when he left the club to become Mick Potter’s assistant at Odsal ahead of the 2011 season.
The 36-year-old former winger, who spent 12 years as a player at Leeds and five on the coaching staff, will take charge of the Bulls against Super League opposition for the first time.
It will be a proud moment for Cummins but emotion will not even come into it, according to the man himself.
“You don’t go into any game with sentiments because you’re just doing your job,” said Cummins.
“Yes, it will be nice to say hello to a few people beforehand and then catch up with them afterwards. But I’m just doing my job, whether that be at our training ground at Tong or on a match day.
“I’ve got a lot of good friends at Leeds and that’s not going to change. But this is the next stage in my career now and it will be good to see where we are as a team.”
The match promises to be a far more demanding test for the Bulls than last weekend’s rout of Dewsbury in their opening pre-season friendly.
Tomorrow Cummins’ men will face a Leeds side who three months ago won their fifth Super League title in six seasons.
The Rhinos have spent the past week at a training camp in Portugal and have named their strongest-possible side, including seven England internationals.
One of them is McGuire, who has so often provided the inspiration behind Leeds’ remarkable trophy haul.
Cummins knows the mercurial half-back well, having played with and coached the 30-year-old.
The Bulls coach said: “Danny’s an incredible try-scorer but his play-making abilities probably get a little bit overlooked too.
“Kevin Sinfield dominates possession at Leeds but, having played with Danny and coached him, he’s very good at providing as well and scoring tries.
“Teddy Sheringham wasn’t quick as a footballer but he got in the right place at the right time and Danny still is quick, let’s not forget that.
“But as you get older you have to change your game slightly and Danny always turns up in the right spot. He sees things quicker than most other people and is good at every sport he plays.
“From our point of view, it will be good to have a go at the champions and see what we need to tweak afterwards.”