BULLS head coach John Kear has lauded the influence of experienced half-back Danny Brough, a man he has had time for ever since coming across him as a young prospect more than 15 years ago.

Kear has made no secret of the fact that Bulls are targeting promotion to Super League, and signing top flight veterans like Brough and Aaron Murphy has made people sit up and take notice.

The Bulls boss said: “It was vitally important to sign the likes of Danny, who we brought in to get us to the Grand Final (Million Pound Game).

“I just felt, in that 2019 season, we were missing a bit of hard-nosed professionalism and didn’t always know how to close games out.

“Toronto at home was a perfect example, we put ourselves in a great position to cause quite an upset, but couldn’t get over the line.

“The likes of Danny Brough and Aaron Murphy can help with that, and they’ve added to the squad in a really good way.

“They’ve been first class and really good with advice to the others, as they’re smart rugby league players.

“But with Danny, it doesn’t matter whether it’s an academy product or an established pro, he treats them all the same.

“He might only be a little half-back, but he’s not afraid to give them a spray if they’ve not been good enough in a training session.”

And that uncompromising attitude has come as no surprise to Kear, who remembers signing a young Brough for Hull back in the mid-2000s, before coaching him again at Wakefield between 2008 and 2010.

Kear said: “The first time I met him was when he was playing at York in 2004, and he had the ball on a string.

“I was very optimistic I could get him to come and play for me at Hull and he felt he should be in Super League even then.

“That confidence is still there, and you don’t want someone who’s a shrinking violet at half-back, you need someone assertive and dominant like Danny.

“Jordan (Lilley) has blossomed under his guidance, and that partnership is really exciting. I think they'll light up the Championship.”

And Lilley is part of that younger crop who Kear has so much hope for.

Speaking about some of the other hot prospects at Bulls, he said: “The likes of Sam Hallas, Ross Oakes and Brandon Pickersgill are developing into really good players. I think all three are Super League standard.

“We’ve added experience to that exciting young group, and are full of good individuals.”

Speaking of good individuals, Pickersgill has long been a key part of the Bulls community, helping to run training camps and fitness sessions for Bradford’s rugby league loving children.

Kear said: “Brandon’s parents should be very proud of him.

“He’s what I’d call a cerebral player who loves the game, and he's intelligent and passionate.

“The way he’s helping down at the club shows how hard he works too.

“We want those good characters at the club, though really, 99 per cent of rugby league players are great lads.”

At the other end of the age scale, Kear is now 66, but admits he would love one last crack at Super League.

He said: “There’s a lot of great former Championship coaches now doing it in Super League and having success and I’d love one more go.

“I want to do that by getting Bradford into Super League. It’s a heck of a challenge, as the Championship is a marvellous competition this year with real quality players.

“But look at Roy Hodgson in the Premier League, he’s in his seventies and still has that hunger.

“So do I, as it’s that challenge and competition that inspires me and keeps me going.”