JOHN Kear blasted the work ethic of his Bulls players after their laboured pre-season win over Keighley yesterday.

He also went on to question their attitude and humility, and said things will need to improve fast if they are to stand a chance of winning at Featherstone in the Challenge Cup next Sunday.

The Bulls head coach said after the game: "I thought it was our work ethic and attitude that let us down.

"I don't think we showed enough humility either. The game's not over when you're 12-0 up after 20 minutes, as they found out.

"I think they thought it was going to be a matter of how many they'd score at that point, but rugby league doesn't work like that, you've got to keep applying yourself.

"In pre-season last year, our young men showed great humility and work ethic and were improving rapidly, and the whole team worked hard for their mates.

"I haven't seen that yet, so hopefully it's a blip after the year we've had out. We need to be a lot better."

A poor mental attitude is always likely to mean mistakes, with Kear saying: "I thought our ruck control was much better than against Swinton, but we let ourselves down in different areas to last week.

"At one point we made six errors in 10 sets, including giving away two penalties while in possession, which is absolutely criminal.

"That kills you. If we'd played Featherstone today, I think they'd have won by 40."

As for the upcoming cup clash, Kear mused: "We probably have more questions than answers after today.

"I still think I've got a good idea of about eight or nine likely starters for Featherstone, but you can play yourself out of teams as well as into them, and that may well be the case for some today."

With Matty Dawson-Jones only absent due to being given a well-earned rest after his fine performance against Swinton, Kear was glad to have no new injury concerns.

But he was visibly upset after learning that Cougars utility back Alix Stephenson had broken his fibula.

Kear said: "The thing that's thrown me in this game more than anything is Alix.

"It's upset me a bit. You don't want to see an injury as severe as that in a trial game.

"We obviously had him here at Bradford in the past couple of years and he's a lovely kid. He's working hard to make his way in the game, so it's pretty sad."