JOHN Kear reckons the Bulls are building up to be the fittest team in this year’s Championship.

The squad numbers were unveiled this week as the season-opener against promotion favourites London approaches in just over a fortnight.

The Bulls make their first trip to Dewsbury tomorrow for a latest pre-season friendly with their landlords as they look to get to grips with their new base at the Tetleys Stadium.

Kear can feel the confidence rising within his squad from their performance in last weekend’s emotional clash with Leeds.

He said: “I can sense that there is an element of self-belief growing within the group.

“Castleford was massive for us, the youngsters went to Hunslet and took them all the way, and last week we played a very good Leeds team scattered with internationals all over the field and competed really well.

“Confidence is really difficult to gain and very easy to lose. But we’re on a nice little journey right now where we’re growing.

“That needs to continue for these final couple of games before the one that matters against London in round one.”

Kear was massively encouraged by the way his side kept going at Headingley while their Super League hosts were able to ring the changes. He hopes that stamina can prove a significant factor in the new campaign.

Kear added: “It’s down to really good conditioning over the pre-season.

“Leeds used virtually two quality teams but we haven’t got the luxury of doing that.

“But our lads were still playing as hard in the last minute as they were in the first.

“I think we’ll certainly be one of if not the fittest team in the Championship.

“That will allow us to work hard and when you do that with quality, which we have, then I’m sure we’ll have a good season.

“We are where we want to be and confident it will be a good year.”

Kear was proud with the way the club conducted themselves on and off the field against the Rhinos.

The Bulls waived any share of the gate receipts from the sell-out crowd to raise money for supporting Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s testimonial and the players also decided to pay to go in.

“We’ve got to pat ourselves on the back,” said Kear. “I thought we showed some class.

“Leeds came out charged by the emotion of the occasion at 100mph. Luke Gale was missing but that was near enough their top team.

“I sat there wide-eyed thinking, ‘wow, they are ripping into us’. But our resilience was first class.

“We were absolutely hanging on against the Leeds pressure and gradually we clawed ourselves into the game.

“I would go so far as to say that we were the better team in the second half. We can take great heart from it.

“I came away delighted to be a member of the Bradford Bulls club and to be part of that performance group as well.”