BULLS head coach John Kear has praised the RFL’s foresight for coming up with a clear plan for the 2021 season, admitting that clubs just have to accept it if games are lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Championship campaign is now due to kick off at the end of February for Bradford, and though the hope is to play each team home and away twice, the RFL have announced the final table will be decided on a percentage system rather than points gained if the season ends up incomplete.

Kear said: “It’s understandable they’ve brought it forward (from the initial Easter start that was planned), as we’ve got to try and play as much of the season as possible.

“We’ve seen with football that games will get lost to the virus, so I think it’s sensible criteria that the table will be decided by percentage rather than points if it’s not finished.

“We know if a game is off, it won’t be played at a later date, though I’d have thought you’d have to play a certain number of games to qualify for the percentage criteria.

“It would be great to play everyone home and away, but these are unprecedented times and there’s had to be these contingency plans.

“I think all of the decisions that have been made are sensible and I can see the reasons behind them.”

One of the biggest decisions was to make the 1895 Cup, for Championship and League One clubs, semi-finals and a final only, with those spots going to the four second and third-tier clubs who reach the last 16 of the Challenge Cup.

Kear said: “I think that’s a sensible call, as you need to get as far as you can in the Challenge Cup now.

“If you can make that last 16, you know you’ll be contesting the semis for the 1895.

“Again, it’s sensible (to not have the 1895 Cup played in full next year) and it shows good foresight.

“It’s easy to be critical of things in hindsight, but you need that foresight in sport at the moment.”

Kear said Bulls are hoping to be back in action before late February though.

He said: “The idea is to play two, maybe three, friendlies before the start of the season, just to get the players used to tackling again.

“We’ll wait until all the clubs are back from their Christmas break and start contacting others from January 4 to see if they’re keen to play us.

“We know we’ll be behind closed doors for those and the start of the season, but free streaming is on offer for season ticket holders.

“Non-season ticket holders have to pay, but again that’s a logical decision, as clubs need that money coming in to keep them ticking over.”

Kear is happy with the way the players are shaping up for 2021, saying: “They’re having a couple of weeks off from December 22, but they’ve had a maintenance programme over Christmas.

“Looking at all the evidence, they’ve been following it well.

“Because we came back early, doing two training sessions a week, I think we’re in good shape for the new season.”