Purtell comeback in nick of time as Bradford Bulls decimated by injuries (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Adrian Purtell comeback is in nick of time as Bradford Bulls decimated by injuries
Bulls coach Francis Cummins has no qualms about pitching Adrian Purtell straight back into Super League combat against Hull KR this weekend.
The 28-year-old Aussie centre was given the green light to resume playing by a specialist in London on Wednesday in a massive boost to his career and to Cummins’ small squad.
The Bulls could be decimated by injuries for Sunday’s clash, with Jamie Langley (groin), Matt Diskin (illness), Jamie Foster (shoulder), Chev Walker and Matty Blythe (both ankle) potentially all absent.
Cummins revealed that only 12 of his senior squad had been able train earlier this week but John Bateman will make his first Super League appearance since last August and Purtell has been passed fit to make his long-awaited return after ten months on the sidelines.
If Purtell is required on Sunday then it will be off the bench and his involvement will depend on the availability of the walking wounded, who will be assessed by the club’s medical team today.
Purtell has not played since suffering a heart attack in the aftermath of the Magic Weekend defeat to Leeds on May 27 last year but Cummins said: “Adrian is available and could play some part.
“I’ve got concerns about his match fitness, of course I have, but not the general physicality of the game.
“If I had doubts about a player not being physically able then I wouldn’t put them out there.
“There are more important things than me getting a result – the best thing about our game is the players.
“They put their mental and physical health on the line every time they go out to play and I’ve got a duty to care to these young men.
“If Adrian wasn’t ready – if there was any doubt about his heart – then I wouldn’t be putting him out there.
“But the specialists have said to him ‘you’ve got to forget that you’ve had the heart attack’, so it’s only down to match fitness for him now.”
Today’s hit-out at Tong is set to mark Purtell’s first full contact session since he resumed training in December.
Cummins explained: “Adrian hasn’t been able to do certain things during pre-season such as the physical contact he’s been doing all the running and more, plus his general fitness has always been very good.
“He’s done little bits of contact during pre-season but nothing full on.
“We will be doing contact work today and he will be able to join in with that.
“Like I say, he’s got a good engine anyway but I think it will be even better now with the amount of running he’s been doing.
“Hopefully we can give Adrian a little spell in the side this weekend. That would be fantastic after everything he has been through.
“He’s thought about alternative careers and how his life was going to pan out but now he’s on the verge of playing again. That’s testament to the medical but also to Adrian as well.”
Meanwhile, the Bulls’ Academy side lost 32-18 at home to Hull KR last night.