BULLS vice-captain Sam Hallas is excited about what is set to be a ferociously competitive season, but beyond the usual suspects, he is backing some of the club's emerging stars to make their mark.

Hallas is only 24 himself, but speaks with a maturity beyond his years. He is studying Sport Business Management at Leeds Beckett University to give him options at the end of his playing career and has expressed an interest in helping coach Bulls' U19s when the opportunity arises.

Speaking about the league campaign first of all, and Hallas said: "This season will be the most competitive in the Championship yet.

"Look at the recruitment of teams, and all the Super League players that have come down to play here.

"All the teams have bought well, and you can see how strong the likes of Fev, York and Toulouse are. Imagine if that Leigh squad had stayed down here too.

"But we know John (Kear) is really good at putting together great groups, and he's added Danny Brough and Aaron Murphy to the experience we already have with Steve Crossley and Anthony England.

"There are good young players here too, and the likes of Ebon Scurr, Bradley Ho and Brad Gallagher will be just as important for us."

Hallas will have no problems leaning on any of those older squad members for advice, but it is unlikely any of it will top the pep talk once given to him by former Bulls three-quarter Lee Smith.

The loose forward explained: "Lee reminded me that rugby won't last forever, and he told me I'd need to have something to fall back on.

"There's so much you can do, and even with having uni and working with Steve at his cleaning business during lockdown, I still found I had spare time.

"It's massively important to have one eye on the future when you know your playing career's only short.

"I'm studying Sport Business Management at Leeds Beckett. (Featherstone head coach) James Webster is actually one of my tutors, so that will be interesting when we play them in the Challenge Cup next month.

"I felt it was better to go into studying now, rather than twiddling my thumbs and wondering what to do next when I'm older.

"It's nice to use my brain, not just my physical strength, and working with John has been fantastic, because with what he's done in the game, on and off the field, he's passed on a lot to me."

Hallas added: "I want to keep coaching too. I did a bit before and I've spoken to (head of youth) Leigh Beattie about helping out with the Under-19s, which is difficult at the moment with squads needing to be in bubbles.

"I love getting to see that different side of the game.

"It's made me gain perspective and it means I now know why John and Mark (Dunning) might get angry over certain things in training."