JAKE Mullaney admits he has “big shoes to fill” as he prepares to replace Brett Kearney at Odsal next season.
Kearney yesterday confirmed he will leave the Bulls at the end of the current campaign and head home to Australia.
Since arriving from Cronulla Sharks ahead of the 2010 campaign, the 30-year-old has made 103 Super League appearances and scored 54 tries.
Salford full back Mullaney, who has signed a one-year deal for 2015, said: “Brett is obviously a very good player and has been for many years.
“I knew of him when he was playing in Australia and he has consistently proved his class at Bradford, so they are pretty big shoes to fill if that’s where I’m going to be play.
“I can play five-eighth or full back but in the last few years I’ve played mainly full back. That would probably be my preferred position.”
Mullaney has also been likened to former Warrington full back Brett Hodgson due to their slight physiques, prolific goal-kicking and ability to play full back and stand-off.
Both men also played their junior football with the Western Suburbs Magpies before going on to represent Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels.
Mullaney, 24, added: “We come from the same area and junior club, so that tag was put on me when I was younger.
“I guess there are a few similarities in our game but one player I’ve always admired greatly is Billy Slater.
“He’s probably been the best player in the world for the past five or six years and if I had to model myself on anyone it would be him.”
Mullaney will leave Salford after just one season following the arrival of New Zealand star Kevin Locke but he is relishing the challenge of guiding Bradford back into Super League.
“Salford seemed to think that I wouldn’t play as much footie next year with Kevin Locke having come in,” said Mullaney, who is currently recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.
“Bradford seemed like a great opportunity so it was a pretty easy decision in the end.
“It’ll be a different challenge to what I have ever experienced before so it’s quite exciting.
“I went to the lottery relaunch at Cedar Court last week and it’s clear the fans are still right behind us. I’m really looking forward to it and if I enjoy it then I’ll happily stay for longer.”
Kearney, meanwhile, has not yet found a club back in Australia but said: “My decision to leave was a family one and they come first.
“We have had a difficult few years but the support from the terraces has never wavered.
“For that, I would like to thank our fantastic fans and the great staff at the club.
“I believe the Bulls are in brilliant hands and I look forward to seeing them back in Super League as soon as possible.
“I will certainly be keeping an eye on Bradford next year and wish everyone here well for the future. This is a great club and I am proud to have been a part of it.”
Meanwhile, Featherstone chairman Mark Campbell has confirmed that Rovers winger or centre Etu Uaisele will join the Bulls for next season.
The Tonga international is on loan at Sheffield Eagles for the rest of this season and Campbell said: “It’s rumoured that Etu Uaisele and Steve Crossley will both be leaving at the end of the season and I can confirm these rumours to be true. We wish both players well at Bradford and Castleford respectively.”
New Bradford Bulls Jake Mullaney up for the challenge of replacing Brett Kearney
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