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Adrian Purtell joins in best yet by Bradford Bulls
Francis Cummins hailed the Bulls’ 34-12 win over Hull KR as their best of the season so far as Adrian Purtell enjoyed a winning comeback.
Purtell made his first appearance since suffering a heart attack on May 27 last year and played 55 minutes after being introduced in the first half.
The Australian centre enjoyed a steady game as Bradford moved back up to third place in the Super League table after running in six tries against Craig Sandercock’s side.
John Bateman was back for his first Super League appearance since last August following a shoulder reconstruction and marked his return with a try and a fine performance.
It was impressive stuff from the Bulls as they withstood the absence of a handful of key players to reassert their play-off credentials.
Cummins beamed: “We knew we had some main players missing but one person’s misfortune is another’s opportunity.
“Some of those young lads have come in there for this match and done really well.
“We were having to move back-rowers around because we only had three props and I’m really proud of their effort.
“We talk about bigger-picture stuff but talk’s quite cheap. To produce that against a team who had been in good form recently makes me really pleased.
“I’d probably go so far as to say it was one of the most enjoyable wins of the season to date.”
Bateman, meanwhile, was set to join up with England’s elite training squad at RAF Cranwell last night.
Cummins had words of praise for the teenager, saying: “We really needed John and he ended up playing all kinds of roles for us.
“He played right back-rower, left back-rower and then he ended up in the left centres.
“We’ve talked about people going the extra mile for Bradford Bulls and John has been Bradford Bulls since he was born.
“It’s very pleasing that John and Adrian are back but a few players have put their hands up. Nick Scruton had a great game too.
“We were really down to the bare bones but the contribution from all the players was great and it just showed that if you’re really close and you’re willing to work hard for your mate then you can get a result in this game.”
With the hectic Easter period fast approaching, Cummins will hope for the return of several players but saw James Donaldson and Keith Lulia depart with injuries yesterday.
Donaldson suffered a heavy blow to the head and was replaced, before Lulia was forced off by a dead leg.
Yet Cummins said: “Donno said he was okay to go back on but I wasn’t going to risk it.
“Keith looks like he’s got a bad dead leg so we’ll just to have to assess that later in the week.
“I’m happy with where we are but we’ve got a really tough Easter. We showed a lot of character here and now need to show a lot more in the next four weeks.”