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Bradford Bulls must go on Elliott Whitehead watch for Catalan clash
Adrian Purtell admits the Bulls must stop Elliott Whitehead as they bid to get their season back on track at Catalan this coming weekend.
Former Bradford second-rower Whitehead scored twice in the Dragons’ Magic Weekend win over London Broncos on Saturday.
He had looked set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining an ankle injury during his side’s Challenge Cup exit at Odsal on April 27.
But the ex-West Bowling amateur returned ahead of schedule to score a classy brace which took his tally to 11 tries in just ten Super League appearances this season.
Whitehead, 24, left the Bulls last June and Purtell said: “I really rate Elliott as a player and I enjoyed being his team-mate as he’s a quality bloke.
“It’s good to see him going so well over there but hopefully we can nullify him this weekend.
“I know what he’s capable of – he scores a lot of tries and he’s not afraid to put a big hit in either.
“As a mate, I really hope he does go on and play for England because he’s certainly good enough, but it’s about what we do this weekend.
“We had a good victory against Catalan in the Challenge Cup last month. Even in that game there were a lot of areas we could have improved on but we still got the win.
“They will be ready for us this time, so we’re going to have to be even better on Saturday.”
Francis Cummins’ men are set to be bolstered by the availability of Antonio Kaufusi, Manase Manuokafoa and James Donaldson this weekend.
New recruits Jordan Baldwinson and Mason Tonks could also feature and Purtell said: “We’ve got a couple of young guys coming here who are probably itching to get a crack, so we’ve got to take the positives out of that.
“Manuokafoa and Kaufusi are an intimidating front row and hopefully Donno will be back as well.
“We’ve just got to stay positive after Sunday’s defeat to Huddersfield. There was a lot of effort there and we only had two front-rowers in Adam Sidlow and Chev Walker.
“We can’t use that as an excuse but, with the position we are in, we’ve just got to move on to Catalan positively now.
“I don’t think we can work out what is a must-win game because we want to win every game we play.”
Purtell, meanwhile, is out of contract at the end of the season and it remains to be seen where he will end up playing next year.
But the 29-year-old former Penrith Panthers man is keen to stay in England.
“I talk to my manager in Australia every now and then, so hopefully something will be sorted soon,” said Purtell.
“I enjoy England as a country and I feel that, after what happened two years ago with my heart, I’m only starting to get back to the form I know I can produce week in and week out.
“I believe there is a bit of unfinished business there for me and I like living over here. I wouldn’t mind staying over here at all.”
Meanwhile, the Bulls’ appeal over their points deduction will now be heard in the first week of June.
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