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Bradford Bulls: Manase Manuokafoa to make his debut at Castleford
Bulls fans will get their first glimpse of new recruit Manase Manuokafoa in the pre-season friendly at Castleford on Boxing Day.
The giant prop, signed from Parramatta Eels on a one-year deal, is named in the squad following his arrival at Odsal earlier this month.
Fellow forward Phil Joseph is also included as he looks to impress coach Mick Potter after being taken on trial.
Nor are France captain Olivier Elima (knee) and new signing Elliot Kear (hernia) as they bid to return to full fitness in time for the start of the season.
Luke Gale, Adrian Purtell and Jarrod Sammut, three of the six new faces at Odsal, will similarly play no part as Potter looks to mix and match his squad during pre-season.
Rookies John Bateman, Jobe Murphy, Alex Ball and Rob Hawthorne are in the squad to face Ian Millward’s men.
The derby encounter at Castleford is the first of several pre-season games for the Bulls before their Super League opener at home to Catalan Dragons on Sunday, February 5.
They will play Featherstone, Dewsbury, Hull and possibly Keighley in January, a schedule which Potter feels is arduous to say the least.
“For me it’s probably two games too many,” he said.
“The Cas game on Boxing Day is one where it probably has to be played and I’m sure people have become accustomed to it.
“It gives us a chance to try a couple of different combinations here and there and experiment a little bit before the other pre-season games the following month.”
Centre Keith Lulia, signed from Newcastle Knights, is scheduled to arrive in England on December 27.
Meanwhile, Castleford’s half-back Rangi Chase will not feature in the game as he has been given additional time off to recuperate following his exertions in the Gillette Four Nations.
Bulls squad to play Castleford: Sykes, Ainscough, Platt, Walker, Crookes, Briggs, Jeffries, Hargreaves, O’Brien, Joseph, Olbison, Sibbit, Langley, Manuokafoa, Ball, Addy, Donaldson, Bateman, Murphy, Hawthorne.
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