Brett Kearney has revealed how a “kick up the backside” from Bulls coach Francis Cummins helped him to rediscover his best form.
The Australian full back, by his own admission, made a slow start to the campaign after a close-season operation on his sternoclavicular joint, which connects the sternum and the collarbone.
He missed all three pre-season friendlies but is gradually working his way back to his best and enjoyed an outstanding game in the recent defeat at Widnes.
Kearney is ready to step up to the mark again when Bradford, buoyed by the return of fit-again Matt Diskin, Lee Gaskell and Adam Sidlow, face Salford at home tomorrow night.
“I didn’t have an off-season so I was a bit sluggish and out of position at times in the first few games,” said Kearney.
“We then hit a couple of games where we really didn’t get much ball and I was probably half a yard off.
“In the last couple of games, we’ve had some better combinations with the boys and it’s starting to feel like I am playing well.
“I could tell myself that I was a little bit off but sometimes it’s good when you speak to your coach.”
Cummins pulled Kearney aside and basically reminded him he was better than he was actually showing.
“Franny does it in a way that it’s not a kick up the backside,” explained Kearney.
“But if he’s coming to speak to me about my form, then I take it as a kick up the backside.
“I took everything he said on board and I improved the things that we spoke about.
“Along with that came the rest of my game and while they were only small things, they make a big difference.
“If one or two things start going right then the other parts of your game follow suit.
“I still don’t think I’ve hit top form and have plenty of improvement left, so hopefully that comes in the next couple of weeks and I can get a few tries on the board.”
Following their recovery from injury, Diskin, Gaskell and Sidlow were named in the Bulls’ 19-man squad for tomorrow’s visit of the Red Devils, who yesterday unveiled Iestyn Harris as their new head coach.
Anthony Mullally is available again after missing the Oldham game due to being ineligible, so Cummins is facing a number of selection dilemmas and has left Tom Olbison and Danny Bridge out of his squad altogether.
The Bulls coach paid tribute to Kearney following his recent renaissance, saying: “BK started the season really slowly after his operation and he looked out sorts and short of confidence.
“He’s had to take his time out of training sessions to practice individual stuff, such as goal-line defence, and he’s done that.
“At Hull KR he saved about three tries when he threw his body on the line, so he’s come back very strongly.
“That’s pleasing because he’s a big influence here and one of our main players.”