Emotional Bradford Bulls coach rips into 'vultures' tapping up his squad as he fears more player exits (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Emotional Bradford Bulls coach rips into 'vultures' tapping up his squad as he fears more player exits
Jarrod Sammut, pictured, has already left the Bulls for Wakefield and Garreth Carvell went to Hull FC
Bulls coach Francis Cummins fears that “vultures are circling” his best players in the wake of the club’s administration and revealed how they have been the subject of numerous illegal approaches.
Cummins, who described the situation as “anarchy”, said a number of his squad had been tapped up by rival clubs since the start of pre-season due to the ongoing saga surrounding the Bulls’ ownership.
Since the club was placed into administration on January 31, Garreth Carvell and Jarrod Sammut have left but Cummins accepted yesterday that other players could follow suit.
Cummins said: “The vultures have been circling for months and it’s been anarchy during that time.
“It’s still anarchy now because I’ve got people tapping up players.
“This is not just agents; it’s people from other clubs but they are allowed to do it (get away with it) because this is the situation we are in.
“The silence is deafening from within the game and the players haven’t told me personally but I know it’s going on.
“There are certain players who are getting pressure from other people to join their club.
“This was going on during pre-season and we’ve had illegal approaches all the time.
“We’ve had coaches getting players to ring our players up but nothing was done. It’s been stated (to the Rugby Football League) but I’m not going to hold my breath.”
Cummins said he would not blame any of his players if they decided to jump ship should a better offer present itself.
Cummins added: “I couldn’t blame anyone at all. We talk about player welfare but this is torture.
“We have lost players through this already and if more were allowed to leave then we are just being kept alive – on a life-support machine – to enable other clubs to function.
“It felt like we were starting to move forward, then the rug gets pulled again. You are asking how long mentally people can hang in there. To have the guts ripped out again is not nice.”
Robbie Hunter-Paul is remaining as chief executive and is hoping other clubs do not take advantage of the Bulls' difficulties.
He said: “It’s the same situation we were in two weeks ago – the contracts are transferred to the administrator.
“There are arguments to say they can go, and arguments to say they can’t. It would be remiss of me to make a comment on whether people will leave.
“It’s a really grey area. Clubs will do what clubs will do.
“You would hope with the term rugby league family, people would act like a family.”
Cummins and a number of backroom staff worked without pay for three months after being made redundant during the Bulls’ previous spell in administration in 2012.
Cummins was re-employed as head coach following Mick Potter’s departure but he said yesterday: “We’ve worked as volunteers before but that won’t be happening again.
“We did what we had to do last time because we were trying to save the club.
“But financially, me and a few of staff have never recovered from that period when we worked for nothing.
“We did what we had to do to get the club through to start building it back up.
“But me personally, I have done my bit. If I was to be made redundant then I wouldn’t be volunteering and working without pay.”
Cummins and his players have been reassured by the administrator that they will be paid tomorrow.
Sunday’s home clash with London Broncos will also go ahead as scheduled as the search for new owners continues.
Mark Moore, who was fronting Bradford Bulls 2014’s bid to buy the club, said he pulled out because the six-point penalty imposed by the RFL made relegation a certainty.
But Cummins said: “I disagree with him on the football side because I believe we are six points better than some teams – as long as I can keep the players I’ve got and there are options to bring in some young players on loan.”