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Francis Cummins: Bradford Bulls are on to something good
Francis Cummins has backed the Bulls to bounce back strongly from their first defeat of the season when they take on Castleford on home soil this evening.
Cummins saw his men condemned to a 28-12 reverse at Hull FC last weekend but victory in today’s televised clash would mark a second successive home win.
After destroying Wakefield in round one, the Bulls were punished for a sluggish start at Hull and never recovered – despite enjoying plenty of possession, which they struggled to translate into points.
But the Bulls coach believes his young side will learn lessons from the KC Stadium defeat that will hold them in good stead as the season progresses.
Cummins said: “We didn’t win the game at Hull and we didn’t perform to the level I believe we are capable of.
“But we’ve got to put it into context. We had a great start against Wakefield and everything went in our favour.
“Now we’ve had a taste of defeat – although we fought well to get back into the game – we’ve got to take the next step and keep our concentration.
“What you’re seeing now is this team just gathering some momentum and it’s all about education.
“I believe the Hull defeat will do us a lot of good. We’ve come forward as a group and I’m really happy where we are.
“Some of the lads are doing some stuff now that they’ve never done before. We’re on to something good here, I can feel that, but we’ve just got to stay disciplined with what we’re doing.”
Jobe Murphy is poised to make his Super League debut off the bench for the Bulls in today’s encounter.
The home-grown second-rower, who impressed in the pre-season friendlies against Dewsbury and Leeds, endured an injury-ravaged year last season but has been patiently waiting for his chance.
Brett Kearney is set to revert to his customary position of full back, with Jamie Foster taking the left-wing berth made vacant by Platt.
Rangi Chase starts a two-match ban for Castleford, imposed for a reckless tackle on Leeds full back Zak Hardaker in last weekend’s 14-12 win over the champions.
Tigers boss Ian Millward will hand a debut to on-loan Warrington half-back Gareth O’Brien and Cummins is expecting a stern challenge from today’s visitors.
“Castleford had a great win against Leeds last week and we have looked at some footage of that game,” said the Bulls coach. “To defeat the champions takes a lot of effort but they really deserved that win and they will be coming here looking for another two points.
“We always have tough games against Castleford and in a lot of ways I think we are very similar in where we are as clubs at the moment. “Although they have been able to bring in seven or eight players, they – like us – have not got the biggest squad.
“They have a lot of dangerous players in there and they will be tough opponents for us.
“Their starting line-up, like ours, is very strong and, again like us, they have some young players in there and they will be tested, as we will, throughout the season. “They have brought some good professionals in there who will be able to help the young players who may well have to play as the season progresses.”
The late and high challenges from Chase on Hardaker and Catalan prop Julian Bousquet on Salford rookie Theo Fages last weekend sparked much debate this week.
Shoulder charges were outlawed in the NRL last November but remain legal in Super League.
Cummins said: “Part of me doesn’t want to take out the physicality of our game but if you get the shoulder charge wrong then you should be harshly dealt with and take the punishment.”
Meanwhile, Adrian Purtell is to become an ambassador for Leeds-based Heart Research UK.
The Australian centre suffered a heart attack in the aftermath of the Magic Weekend defeat to Leeds last May but is scheduled to be playing again next month.
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