BULLS head coach John Kear admits he cannot see the season starting until at least the end of March, after Championship and League One sides were informed they should suspend training earlier this week.

Kear’s side had returned to training on Monday after their Christmas break, with the players and staff all testing negative for coronavirus.

But the next day, with a full 5pm session just over an hour away, the RFL advised that it all should stop.

And, for at least two weeks, it means vital pre-season preparations will now be put on hold.

Kear said: “I don’t think there’s any chance of the first Championship game being at the end of February as planned.

“Maybe we could be looking at the end of March or beginning of April.

“Training is all closed down for now and you’ve got to have a pre-season, you can’t just start playing, given all the conditioning that’s needed.

“It’s just my opinion, but I can’t see it being the end of February.

“We’ll have to see how it unfolds, but psychologically I’m adapting to it being the end of March.”

As for the moment Bulls received the news training should be put on pause, Kear said: “We were disappointed and frustrated, but we understood.

“You’ve only got to look at the infection and death rates to see how bad the pandemic is getting again.

“We came back on Monday, took our Covid tests, and they were all negative, for the staff and players.

“We also had the full-time players in on the daytime on Tuesday, but at 3:30, we got the message that Championship clubs should stop training from 4:30 onwards.

“We had players already assembling for the teatime session by this point.

“But we’ll do as we’re asked, look after ourselves, and stay at home if we can.

“Super League haven’t had to stop, but you’ve got to remember that all their players are full-time, whereas that’s not the case for all the lads in the Championship.

“The ones that aren’t have to go out and make a living elsewhere, putting themselves more at risk.”

Kear has been involved in rugby league for decades, as a player, coach and commentator, and his passion for the sport is clear for all to see.

Asked how hard he has found the last 10 months, Kear said: “It has been tough, but I’m fortunate that I do work with the BBC, so I did get to go to some live games in 2020 with the TV and radio, as well as doing the Super League Show.

“But it’s been pretty soulless, as part of the game at elite level and the enjoyment of it, is having supporters in the ground, whether they’re for or against you.

“The games I’ve been to have been more like academy ones, as there’s so few people there, only media and staff.

“The buzz is not there that you normally get from rugby league and I can’t wait to get back to coaching in games in front of a crowd.

“A match day is a social occasion, whether that be football, rugby union or rugby league, and we all miss that.”