THE Bulls have suffered a major pre-season injury blow after Sam Barlow broke his arm against Dewsbury.

The experienced forward, just back from his four-year drugs ban, now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

It is a big blow for John Kear on the eve of the new Championship campaign as the Bulls coach moaned about the lack of leadership on display in a 25-12 loss to the Rams.

Kear said: “When Steve Crossley and Jordan Lilley weren’t out there, it was like Marcel Marceau was playing from one to 13.

“You can’t play rugby league with sign language. I think that’s why we were so scratchy and indifferent.

“I wanted three pre-season games and we’ve ended up with five and it’s cost us. The biggest negative was that Sam Barlow’s broken his arm.

“That’s what happens when you play so many pre-season games. You get some bumps and bruises and some serious injuries.

“He carried the ball once and his arm has hit one of the Dewsbury players on their head. It was a total accident but that will be casted up and will cost us.

“It’s a blow because he’s a handful and showed some good off-loads. He didn’t look as sharp as he did against Castleford but it’s a middle that we’ve lost.”

Kear’s side were missing vice-captain Sam Hallas, Brandon Pickersgill and Anthony England – who pulled out late through illness after throwing up at the ground.

But the Bulls coach was unimpressed with his team’s display at the Tetley’s Stadium where they will be homed this year.

“It was pretty indifferent, individually and as a group,” he added. I probably learned more from that than the previous two and there’s a lot to fix up.

“It’s pretty easy as a player to wind yourself up to play Castleford on Boxing Day with a big crowd. It’s pretty easy to wind yourself up for 20,000 folk at Headingley.

“But you need to wind yourself up for a game against teams in the same competition as you and we didn’t.

“This is our bread and butter and what we’ve got to live on and work with. If we’re going to challenge at all this season, we’ve got to be much better performance-wise.

“Dewsbury outworked us and outsmarted us and were comprehensively better than us. I’ve told the players you can play yourself into spots and play yourself out of them – and one or two have.

“It’s certainly helped me finalise a team for London on round one.”