Francis Cummins praised his rookies after a youthful Bulls side slipped to a 38-4 defeat at Dewsbury yesterday.
The Bradford boss named four teenagers in his starting line-up in Adam Brook, Joe Philbin, Oliver Roberts and Emmerson Whittel.
Another seven came off the bench in Nathan Conroy, Sam Bates, Tom Walker, Brad Adams, Steve Copeland, Nick Gomersall and Jordan Gale.
Glenn Morrison’s Champion-ship outfit made their superior physicality and experience pay, outscoring the Bulls by seven tries to one, but Cummins was more than satisfied with the run-out.
“Of course I take the positives,” said the Bulls head coach.
“It was more about the young lads getting the experience against a good Dewsbury side.
“That’s what it was all about today. The young players needed to be exposed to better players with Super League experience and they were today.
“We knew we would make some errors in awful conditions but that was the first time a lot of our Under-19s players had played against men and they needed to experience it.
“A lot of these lads are part-time so we’ll see how they develop and hopefully a few more of them can kick on. Some of our young players are only 12 or 13 stone and they came up against guys who are much bigger physically.”
Cummins singled Nathan Conroy out for special praise after the young hooker came off the bench to make his mark.
Adam O’Brien, who performed admirably for Dewsbury on dual registration last season, was missing with a sore shoulder, while Luke George and Alex Mellor were also nursing knocks.
But Cummins is expected to bring back the bulk of his big guns to face Castleford on Sunday for the Bulls’ third and final pre-season friendly.
He added: “I thought Nathan Conroy did really well and he’s got a bit more experience than the rest of them.
“But I thought Sam Bates showed up well too and worked really hard.
“When Nas (Manase Manuokafoa) and Ziggy (Adam Sidlow) were on we looked more assured.
“But today wasn’t about winning – it was about taking from the game what we needed.”
Virtually every non-playing member of Cummins’ squad was in the stands at Dewsbury yesterday and the Bulls chief added: “It’s important because we’re all in the same squad and we support each other.”
Cummins is hopeful that George will be fit to make his first appearance in a Bradford jersey against Castleford on Sunday.
He added: “Luke George had a little bit of a niggle over the last couple of weeks but hopefully he will play against Cas.”