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Bradford Bulls building on British talent
Francis Cummins believes the Bulls can take inspiration from deadly rivals Leeds Rhinos as they look to create a new dynasty of their own at Odsal.
The former winger was part of the Leeds side who won the club’s first championship for 32 years in 2004 under Tony Smith.
The men from Headingley have since embarked on a golden era, claiming six Super League titles in the past nine years.
Having crossed enemy lines to join Bradford, first as assistant coach before being named as successor to Mick Potter last month, Cummins prefers to look forward rather than back.
Yet he sees similarities between the home-grown talent at Leeds who laid the platform for their success and the likes of Elliott Whitehead, John Bateman, Tom Olbison and Adam O’Brien, who have progressed through the ranks at Odsal.
“We’re trying to build something here at Bradford on home-grown British talent,” said Cummins.
“We will base the team around these people who are going to hopefully serve the club for many years.
“That’s what Leeds have done – they have players who have grown up together, who love the club and want to do it for each other.
“That’s what we need to take forward and it’s a great opportunity for these young men.
“We’re going to have to do it differently at times but there are things in place here.
“If we keep producing these young kids, then eventually we’ll strengthen the squad.
“You can top it up in certain areas but I want to build our own Leeds, as it were.
“It’s great to be a part of something at the start and you can see it getting better.
“We were in a real hole last year but it will get better. It’s just going to take time.
“You look at St Helens as well. They may not have made the Grand Final this year but they’re generally young St Helens kids coming through the system to play in the first-team.
“There are some great examples out there but we’ve just got to make our own dynasty now.”
Cummins believes Bateman could prove the fulcrum for the Bulls in the coming years after he committed his future to the club with a new three-year deal.
“John could be a future captain of Bradford,” said the Bradford coach.
“I’m sure John could have earned a lot more money elsewhere. But he wants to play for Bradford and we were obviously delighted to keep him.”