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Former Bulls prop Paul Anderson will ignore his soft spot for Bradford at Magic Weekend
Paul Anderson never took a backward step as a player and he is no less uncompromising as a head coach.
The former Bradford prop does not mince his words but, when asked about the Bulls’ current plight, he is genuinely sympathetic.
Not this Sunday, however. Not when it is his Huddersfield team who are in the equation on Magic Weekend.
Anderson was part of the ‘awesome foursome’ alongside Brian McDermott, Stuart Fielden and Joe Vagana, who laid the foundations for the Bulls’ golden era in the late nineties and early years of the millennium.
He said: “Obviously I’ve got a soft spot for Bradford but not when we play them because I know where my loyalties lie.
“That is to my chairman, my players and the club.
“Let’s hope Bradford can get some wins and stay up just from an emotional point of view and the huge history I’ve got with the club.
“Aside from that, they’re a big club with a great following and Super League would be a poorer place without them.
“But at the end of the year you deserve to be where you deserve to be.”
When Huddersfield won 66-18 at Odsal two months ago, it emphasised the gulf in resources between the clubs.
The Bulls had one recognised prop available that day; the Giants, backed by wealthy owner Ken Davy, had an embarrassment of riches at their disposal.
Francis Cummins has a good working relationship with Anderson which has seen him land Anthony Mullally and Antonio Kaufusi on loan this season.
Mullally benefited from regular game-time at Odsal and was recalled to Huddersfield after a month to become a regular in Anderson’s team.
Kaufusi has also impressed in his first two outings for the Bulls, although he cannot play against his parent club at the Magic Weekend on Sunday under the terms of his loan.
Anderson, who says he cannot see Huddersfield loaning Bradford any more players for the foreseeable future, said: “I think Franny has handled himself very well.
“It’s not just this year; every year he’s been there something seems to have gone on there.
“But the way he has coped is testament to him, his family, his morals and the way he has been brought up.
“At times he must have thought ‘what’s the point?’ but he’s kept coming into work every day and lifting the players, which is clear to see.”
When the Bulls entered administration on January 31, Garreth Carvell, Jarrod Sammut and Nick Scruton all jumped ship and the club were docked six points.
Yet Anderson said: “They have still got a lot of good young players.
“You look at the players they have lost and it has been tough for Franny.
“At one point he probably didn’t know who was coming in for training from one day to the next.
“But I’m sure that if he can add some experience to what he’s got then further down the line it will be good for them and they will become a better team.”
Anderson led the Giants to a top-place finish for the first time in 81 years last term, but they have been rather more inconsistent this season.
The Castleford-born 42-year-old said: “We started with a big win at Wigan and there are only really two games this year we have looked like losing.
“We’ve managed to build leads up and lose them and it was pretty poor how we went out of the Challenge Cup to St Helens.
“I thought we could have done better in that game, but we’re not far away. It’s a big game this week on the big stage but we’ll be ready.”
When Anderson was a player at Bradford, never could he have foreseen he would go on to become a head coach.
Not in a million years.
He explained: “I can remember when I first went to Bradford from Halifax and I felt like it was the first time I had been coached.
“Matty Elliott was there and Nobby took the baton on and ran away with it.
“I got a lot out of my time there but probably the last thing I imagined back then was being a coach.
“I left the Bulls and had two years at St Helens which helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my career.
“I got the opportunity at Huddersfield and the rest is history.
“But people at Bradford had an impact on me; Matty, Nobby, Karl Harrison, Bernard Dwyer and Phil Veivers.
“There was a lot of experience there and obviously playing with the players that we had helped me to form some ideals on the game.
“I’ve been fortunate that since I retired from playing and gone into coaching, I’ve worked with some good coaches there. I’m enjoying myself.”
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