BOXING Day places against Castleford are up for grabs as the Bulls enter their next phase of pre-season.

John Kear admits the first month of training at Tong has been “very intense” as the squad build up towards the new Championship campaign.

The work pattern will start to change now heading towards the opening friendly at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle in just over three weeks.

Kear said: “We’re coming to the end of the first block of four weeks and now there will be more field work and running.

“I cannot fault the effort and endeavour of the individuals concerned up to now.

“When you’re a young man, I think it’s great. But for the more experienced ones, it’s just another pre-season to get through.

“If you’re in your first seven or eight pre-seasons, it’s marvellous. When you’ve had a decade of them, you probably can’t wait for the games to start.”

Kear has been pleased with how the younger players in the ranks have dealt with the physical preparations – and insists the opportunity of featuring against Super League opposition is there for all.

He added: “They are doing really well. Selection for the Castleford game on Boxing Day will reflect the players who have really put it in during pre-season.

“If the younger ones train well, they will get an opportunity in a trial game – especially against quality opposition which obviously Castleford are. And if they show up well in that, it certainly won’t do them any harm.

“It can be a very positive thing for them.”