JOHN Kear has called on rugby league’s big hitters to rally round for crisis clubs like Keighley.

Cougars, Barrow and Whitehaven have all reported financial turmoil as they fight to see out the season.

Keighley revealed they had £34.23 in the bank account at the end of last month while the two Cumbrian clubs have both launched fan-funding campaigns to raise much-needed cash.

Bulls coach Kear admits it is a concern to see long-established names in the sport in such dire straits – and believes everyone should try to help them out the mess.

He said: “Anybody connected with Bradford has got to have sympathy after our recent history.

“Anything we can do to support them, obviously we will do.

“But I think it also sends a little sign to Super League to not be selfish and just look after themselves. The game needs a holistic approach and that includes community, League One, Championship as well as Super League.”

The Bulls Supporters Group raised £839 for Haven when the two sides met at the Recreation Ground last month. The club are looking to find £60,000 to cover a shortfall in the budget after losing a major sponsor.

Cougars need £45,000 to see out the current campaign and Barrow revealed they came within hours of going out of business last month.

Kear added: “It’s part of the community in Keighley, Whitehaven or wherever it is. When rugby league clubs have been founded and developed over many, many years in places like Keighley, it’s ingrained within the community.

“The town are very proud of their club and have an affinity with it.

“It should not only be supported from the rugby side but from a social point of view as well because it’s really important to the local community.

“Unless you’re on the inner sanctum, you don’t really know what’s happened at these clubs.

“I don’t think we can castigate people too much because ambition is a good thing. But that’s got to be tempered by realism as well.

“Both Keighley and Whitehaven are playing their full part and are challengers for that top five. I think Barrow have contributed to the Championship as well.

“We don’t know the ins and outs but as a rugby league family, as well as part of the community, we should try to support them as best we can.”