Nobody seems quite sure how the twinning agreement between the Bulls and Dewsbury Rams will work this season, but Glenn Morrison believes it can benefit both clubs.
The former Bradford favourite is gearing up for his first season as a head coach after being appointed as successor to Warren Jowitt at Championship outfit Dewsbury.
On Sunday, Morrison’s men host the Bulls in their third pre-season friendly as they seek to build on last weekend’s highly impressive win over big-spending Halifax.
Morrison, whose coaching position is only part-time, has signed 13 players during the off-season, including formidable veteran prop Makali Aizue and a clutch of other former Super League stars.
Sunday’s clash between his current and former club affords Morrison the opportunity to weigh up potential additions to his squad.
“We’ve got the luxury every week of being able to pick players who don’t make Bradford’s match-day squad and could have up to five playing for us,” he said.
“If we need a back-rower, for example, and there is a back-rower not in Bradford’s 19-man squad that week, I’ll get first choice on him.
“We’ll use the arrangement to benefit us but hopefully it’ll benefit the Bulls too because it’ll mean their players are still playing games as opposed to sitting on the sidelines.
“So I’ll be looking at their side as much as mine this weekend. I’ve spoken to Franny (Cummins) and he said he will bring a full-strength squad.
“It’ll be a tough one for us but we played against a top side in Halifax last week and you can only improve by playing against the best. Hopefully we’ll be able to compete against the Bulls.”
It remains to be seen which Bradford players will be sent to Dewsbury given that Ben Evans will spend the next four months on the sidelines, depleting an already small squad.
But judging by the way Dewsbury overcame a hardened Halifax outfit at the Tetley’s Stadium, the Rams already look in decent shape.
With an annual wage bill believed to be little more than £50,000, and their highest-paid player earning around £7,000, Dewsbury are realistic enough to know they will not be competing for the title this season.
In Morrison, though, they have a coach with the desire to succeed and a playing career that guarantees him the respect of his players.
“Do I want to progress up the coaching ladder? Of course,” said 36-year-old Morrison, who finished his playing career at Wakefield as assistant coach to John Kear.
“When I played I wanted to be the best I could and go as far as possible. I’m the same with coaching. I want to try and get the best out of the players here at Dewsbury and challenge myself.
“If I can get a head coach job in Super League or a job back home in the future, then of course I’d like to step up and see how I go.
“But at the moment I’m fully focused on developing Dewsbury and the players here. Hopefully we’ll have a good season.”
Former Balmain, North Sydney, North Queensland and Parramatta NRL forward Morrison served the Bulls with distinction for three seasons between 2007 and 2009.
He won the T&A player of the year as well as the coaches’ award, players’ player of the year and supporters’ player of the year titles in 2007.
“I loved my time at the Bulls,” said Morrison, who can count on former Bradford youngster Tom Lillycrop among his roster of props and ex-Bradford player Marcus St Hilaire as his assistant.
“It’s a great family club and we were a bit unlucky when Wigan came back from 30 points down to knock us out in the 2007 play-offs.
“We could have gone a lot further that year but Bradford for me was just a great experience with a lot of quality blokes.
“I still get to as many games as I can. Even when I was at Wakefield I still went and watched Bradford play.”
Morrison remains friendly with a number of former Bulls team-mates – particularly James Donaldson, who looks ripe for a big season after recovering from the second serious knee injury of his career.
“I’ve been close to young Donno since he was coming through the ranks,” said Morrison, whose wife Robyn choreographs the Odsal cheerleaders and has got them on board at Dewsbury.
“There were a few boys coming through at the time that Macca (Steve McNamara) said he wanted me to mentor. It was good to see them making the grade in the first team and do so well like they have.
“Poor Donno has had some dramas with his knee injuries but now he’s back fit again you’ll see what a player he is.
“I think the Bulls are looking good for the future with the amount of talented young boys in their ranks.”