Bradford Bulls: Points loss has just spurred us on, says Cummins ahead of tonight's crunch clash with Hull (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Bulls: Points loss has just spurred us on, says Cummins ahead of tonight's crunch clash with Hull
Francis Cummins has admitted the six-point penalty for entering administration has merely made the Bulls more determined to seal a play-off berth.
Victory against Hull FC tonight, coupled with defeat for Hull KR and Wakefield tomorrow, would seal a first appearance in the play-offs since 2008 ahead of next weekend’s trip to Catalan Dragons.
The likelihood, however, is that the race for the final play-off place will go down to the wire at Catalan Dragons a week today but Mick Potter’s men know that two wins in their final two games will put them home and dry.
That would be an incredible achievement for a club who have been in the midst of a financial crisis for much of the campaign and were docked six points for entering administration.
Assistant coach Cummins, who has been working without pay along with the rest of the coaching staff since being made redundant in early July, said: “We’ve paid the price for other people’s mistakes because we don’t feel as a group that the points deduction was anything to do with what we’ve done.
"It has certainly spurred the players on, there’s no doubt about that, and it is evident in the results we have achieved and how well they are working for each other.
“We know we lost the six points and we just want to work hard to get those back. The focus is on that – and it has to be.”
It is worth noting that the Bulls have won six of their last eight Super League outings heading into their final two games of the regular campaign.
Victory over the Black and Whites this evening would mark a sixth straight home win, but Cummins is wary of the threat posed by Peter Gentle’s side after they were stuffed in their last match at Widnes.
“Hull are a bit up and down,” said Cummins.
“They go from having a great result against Catalan to getting hammered at Widnes.
“The Vikings are playing well now but they too are up and down.
“They have had a few players missing but we are expecting a few back this week.
“They are a bit like we were at the start of the year, not knowing what we would get week to week.
“We know we have to start well and play well and if we do then I am confident we can win the game but it is easier said than done.”
Tonight’s televised game promises to be an emotional affair as the Bulls run out at Odsal for the last time this year. It also looks certain to be several players’ last game for the club on home soil.
“I think the emotions would be there in any case,” reasoned Cummins.
“We have played that many ‘last games at Odsal’ over the past few months it’s getting ridiculous!
“But it’s something we are not focusing on; we are just looking to get the result for the fans because believe me they have been great.”
The support from Bulls fans has been one of the driving forces behind Potter’s men this season and Cummins paid tribute to their sterling contribution, both on the terraces and in helping to keep the club alive with their fundraising efforts.
He added: “With the situation as it is there are some young men here with their backs against the wall and they are fighting for their careers, as are the coaching staff.
“We are desperate to do well for ourselves but also for the supporters who have been outstanding.
“There is a proud group here – the players, the volunteer staff and the fans.
“You only have to look at the game at Huddersfield and it was outstanding what they contributed, not just in numbers but also in the noise they made.
“It’s a special place to be at the moment, not ideal because of the situation but a very special place nevertheless.”