BULLS have not had any positive coronavirus tests among players and staff following their most recent return to training last week, and head coach John Kear could not be more delighted to be back.

Their regular Tong base is being used simply to test the players for now, with any work there off the agenda due to Covid restrictions.

But they are settling in nicely to training on Tuesdays and Thursdays down at Horsfall, with a return to contact rugby due early next month.

Speaking about Bulls being back in training after a short suspension, Kear enthused: "We're really pleased.

"It's good for us to get back to start preparing for the season and good for the players and staff to be interacting, even if it's at a distance.

"It's good to be doing things constructively and together. If you've tried to do a training session on your own, it's tough. It's not the same effort and intensity unless you're competing with others."

But there are obvious worries, with Kear saying: "We've had no positives among the players and staff so far, but another challenge is having a hybrid squad, with some full-time and some part-time.

"There's always that worry of players catching it while they're at work and if that's the case (stopping training temporarily) then fair enough.

"But we've been stringent with all the necessary procedures and we're adhering to all the guidelines, so we can't do any more."

Asked how this initial return has been structured, Kear explained: "We spend our Tuesdays and Thursdays down at Avenue.

"Players have got weight training to do, and many of them have their own equipment, which is ideal (given sanitising rules etc).

"Everyone, players and staff, gets tested for the virus at Tong on a Tuesday before going down to Horsfall if everything's okay.

"That's all Tong is being used for at the moment, but we've been told we can do weights sessions in the gym there at the start of February, it's just not possible at the moment because you need spotters and we can't with the current social distancing restrictions we have in place.

"From February, we should be able to have an extra training and extra testing session too."

Kear said getting training sorted was the biggest priority for now, adding: "What we're concentrating on first is returning to training and being ready to play, that's where all our efforts are focused at the moment.

"Once we're confident and comfortable with that, the next stage we'll look at will perhaps be improving the squad.

"But we'll only bring players in that will make us a better side."

A longer term goal for Kear will be leading his Wales team into the World Cup at the end of this year.

Asked how important he thinks the tournament will be, following a difficult couple of seasons for rugby league, Kear said: "I think it will be massive for everybody in the country, not just for rugby league.

"Having a blue riband event in this country this year is really important and I just hope we can get it on and have it played in front of crowds.

"I really think it will be good for everyone generally."