Jay Pitts proving a big hit at Bradford Bulls

BIG IMPACT: Jay Pitts, pictured left in Sunday's win over Wakefield, has hit the ground running since joining on loan from Hull

BIG IMPACT: Jay Pitts, pictured left in Sunday's win over Wakefield, has hit the ground running since joining on loan from Hull

First published in Sport
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Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Bulls Reporter

On April 25, Jay Pitts joined the Bulls on loan from Hull FC for the rest of the season.

Two days later, he helped his new team to a momentous comeback win over Catalan Dragons in the Challenge Cup.

A week later and he was at it again, this time playing his part in another impressive home victory over Warrington.

Then came three heavy defeats which saw Francis Cummins’ men concede 150 points against St Helens, Huddersfield and Catalan.

But last week’s crucial victory over Wakefield saw Pitts produce another fine 80-minute shift, including a stint at dummy half, to underline his growing importance to the Bulls.

“I’m really happy with the way I’ve settled in and the boys have helped me out a lot with that,” said the back-rower.

“They really are a good bunch of lads. The togetherness is massive here and so it should be after all the adversity they have been through.

“They really have stuck together and that’s going to help us coming to the back end of the year when things get tighter.”

The acquisition of Pitts, who worked with Cummins during their time together at Leeds Rhinos, and Joe Arundel has been a massive boost to the Bulls.

Pitts, in particular, has become all but indispensable.

His impressive work-rate and skill set are matched by an equally impressive attitude.

“I’m enjoying my rugby again and Franny has given me an opportunity here,” added the 24-year-old.

“He’s playing me for 80 minutes nearly every week and I think it’s bringing out my best rugby.

“But it’s not really about me; it’s more about helping the team out because they’re a great bunch of blokes and they don’t deserve to be where they are.

“If Hull don’t need me and I’m not guaranteed to play then I would rather be here playing every week and playing to the best of my ability.

“I’m at the age now where I can’t afford to be sat on the sidelines.

“Franny has given me the opportunity and I’d like to think that I’m taking it.”

Pitts’ versatility was underlined against Wakefield last weekend when he moved from the back row to hooker.

It did not faze him in the slightest.

“I’m happy to do anything I’ve been told to do, whether that’s in the middle of the field or out on the edge,” he said.

“I’m not bothered as long as it’s helping the team.”

Head coach Cummins said: “We gave Jay a little spell at hooker against Wakefield because of his skill set, which is very good.

“He’s been one of our better performers since he came here.”

That cannot be denied.

Both Pitts and Arundel remain under contract at Hull for another two years and their performances will be monitored by Black and Whites coach Lee Radford.

In the meantime, Pitts’ only focus is on helping his adopted team to Super League safety.

It is a goal he feels they are more than capable of achieving.

Pitts said: “I’m just concentrating on this year and seeing where we are at the end of the season.

“I’m not bothered about next year now because I’ve got to help these guys out and do my best for Bradford.

“You look at the team and the players we have and we really don’t look like a relegation side.

“We’ve got the squad and you can’t have all these quality players and not perform.

“There is no excuse for it anymore but if everybody puts in the kind of effort we showed in the first half against Wakefield then I think we will be absolutely fine.

“We’ve got to perform like we know we can every week and, if we do that, it will be good enough.

“If we get five wins we’re in the play-offs, as bizarre as it sounds.

“That would obviously be with other results going for us but that’s the way you’ve got to look at it – you have to be optimistic.

“Just play your best and everything else will take care of itself.”

The increased competition for places in the Bulls squad was shown against Wakefield when five key players returned from injury.

Pitts reasoned: “Nobody is safe and that brings the best out of players. The people who aren’t playing will be absolutely spewing and so they should be.

“They want to help the team out but the people that are in the team have got to play well to keep their places.”

Pitts is now aiming to reach the Challenge Cup final for the second year running, having been part of the Hull side defeated by Wigan at Wembley last August.

He added: “Playing at Wembley was the highlight of my career.

“I would love to play there again and there is no reason why we cannot get there this year.

“We have got to put the league to one side now. It is all about Warrington and we have to stick together. It’s a huge occasion and we want to deliver on Sunday.”

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