Bulls coach Francis Cummins has paid tribute to Jamie Foster after the winger was dropped and then immediately recalled during last weekend’s win over Warrington.
Despite scoring two tries against Catalan Dragons the week previously, Cummins felt Foster needed to be better defensively and so left him out of the 17 for the first time in his Bradford career.
However, Luke George pulled out of last week’s game after aggravating a rib injury during the warm-up and so Foster played after all, scoring a try and kicking five goals in the 34-28 win.
Now, as Foster hopes to keep his place in the side to face hometown club St Helens on Sunday, head coach Cummins said: “I must pay tribute to Foz because within ten seconds of the warm-up he went from being 18th man to being told ‘right, you're starting on the wing.’
“Although his edge came up with some poor defence for the first couple of Warrington tries, it wasn’t really his fault this time and I thought he was good.
“His concentration was strong and I was really pleased with that, but there is some competition for places now.
“If you play well, you’re in. If you don’t, you’re out and I thought Foz was a bit down the week before against Catalan – his defence was not good enough, even though he scored two tries and kicked loads of goals.
“But I said to Jamie that sometimes things fall in your favour and you have an opportunity to prove me wrong or just push yourself forward. He did that last weekend.”
Cummins said Foster’s response summed up the collective spirit in his small, tight-knit squad.
The Bulls boss added: “There are tests that we do in training that determine whether you play and if you don’t get in then you’re going to be disappointed and annoyed with me, which is fine.
“But it’s about how you portray yourself to the group and so far it has been very good. The ones who have missed out have worked hard and come back stronger.”
Foster and in-form Lee Gaskell will relish taking on St Helens this weekend and Cummins added: “They have played against St Helens before but they live in that area and it’s a rugby league town.
“But they’ll cope with that. Gasky has been really good for us and is and a great talent.”
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Brett Kearney will be sidelined for between eight and ten weeks after undergoing surgery yesterday on a fractured thumb.
That looks certain to give Gaskell an extended run at full back, with Danny Addy set to partner Luke Gale in the halves.
Meanwhile, the Bulls' Under-19s suffered a 58-12 home defeat at the hands of St Helens last night.
Richard Tunningley's side scored through Steve Copeland and Adam Brook, who kicked two goals, while Saints ran in 10 tries.