BRADFORD Bulls head coach John Kear admitted it was an honour for his side to play a part in today’s joint fundraiser for Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

He felt that the way Bradford conducted themselves, using Leeds as an inspiration, could alter the views of people in rugby league.

He said: “I’m really proud of everybody connected with our club “We’ve had six to eight years now where people haven’t really spoken about Bradford (Bulls) in a good light.

“But anyone who was at this occasion would see how respectful and dignified everyone connected with the club has been.

“We’ve conducted ourselves correctly, allowed the correct people to take the limelight. We’ve contributed with the bits we did.

“Doing things like this, in the manner that we’ve done, is what we need to do so people start talking about Bradford in a positive light, in that we demonstrate a bit of class.

“Anybody who’s been to this game today will know it’s been organised brilliantly and Leeds do things with class.

“That’s what we need to aspire to, because they’re the benchmark.”

Jones-Buchanan, Kevin Sinfield, and Jamie Peacock, who all played for Leeds on the day, spoke highly of Bulls after the match, and Kear said: “You don’t have great clubs just based on money, you have great ones based on standards and values.

“We’ve got an exemplary one here who wear blue and amber, and they’ve demonstrated that year upon year.

“We’ve got to aspire to do that and I’m certain we will, with these people in charge and that group of players, who are going out there and giving their all in any situation.”

Asked about the game itself, Kear said: “I thought it was a very competitive game. In that first 15 minutes I thought Leeds looked really, really sharp.

“But we hung on in there and showed great resilience and tremendous enthusiasm to work our way back into it.

“So, from a Bradford rugby league perspective, I saw lots of things we can build upon for this coming year.”

That could mean more first team games for some of Bulls’ brightest young stars. Twenty-year-old Thomas Doyle scored a lovely try, while Kear was gushing in his praise of someone even younger.

He said: “It was a great moment for Tom but what about young Harry Shackleton? He’s 17 years of age is the kid.

“He’s been out there, contributed well, played with a very good Bradford Bulls team against a very good Leeds Rhinos side and then featured among some of the greats of the game in front of 20,000 folk and the Sky cameras, so he’s had a pretty good day, hasn’t he?”

At the other end of the scale, when asked about the contributions of some of the legends, Kear laughed: “Stuart (Fielden)’s first carry I thought, ‘how old’s this bloke?’, it was unbelievable.

“Then (Leeds’) Kylie Leuluai dropped out of the line and flattened Sam Smith. I wondered if perhaps we stop them playing too early.

“It was great to see, just how Jamie Jones (Buchanan) went on with 11 minutes left. It’s been done right.

“It’s a privilege to be part of this. Obviously to salute Jamie’s contribution to the game but more importantly to raise some money for Rob (Burrow).”

Asked about Burrow, Kear said: “I’ve never heard anybody speak a bad word about Rob. The biggest tribute he had was this game. 20,000 people came out to a pre-season game for him and Sky Sports put it on one of their channels.

“It’s a heck of a tribute and that tells you exactly how this game views Rob. He’s loved, liked and respected throughout the game and that was demonstrated today.”

Kear has been involved in rugby league, as a player and coach, for over 40 years, and said he was proud of how the sport comes together in difficult moments such as this.

He said: “I’ve been unfortunate enough to be in some situations like Adam Watene and Leon Walker’s deaths (while Kear coached them both at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats). The club handled them with great respect and dignity and the wider rugby league family showed great support.

“I think this has been a similar day. Rugby league’s a special game. I’ve had my life in rugby league and I’m proud to have been in and around this great game and the great people within it.”