JOHN Kear has reiterated the importance of the Championship to his side, and feels both they and opening day opponents Sheffield are better than their Challenge Cup scorelines show.

And while Jordan Lilley and Sam Hallas will both be big losses for that clash in Doncaster, Kear is certain vital back-rower Aaron Murphy will finally be available to make his Bulls debut.

Kear said: “From now onwards, it’s very specific about the preparation for Sheffield, who I thought were good against York.

“I didn’t think 41-16 reflected our game and I don’t think 30-6 to York reflected Sheffield’s effort and application. It’ll be tough but we have two weeks to prepare.”

And Murphy will be a big part of that, with Kear keen to hold the prized asset back in the defeat to Featherstone on Sunday.

The veteran head coach mused: “He could have played but I’m not taking my eye off the prize and that’s obviously getting to the play-offs and giving it a shake up. That’s what we’re focused on.

“That’s the reason why he sat it out. He’ll play against Sheffield.”

And Kear sees no reason to believe Bulls will struggle against Sheffield on Easter Sunday, taking real positives from the Featherstone defeat.

He insisted: “There were many more positives than negatives and I’m quite upbeat despite the score. They know they were in a game and we will only get better.

“We’ll have a good year, believe you me.”

He added: “We’re disappointed to be out the cup but we’ve said all along that the big thing this year is the Championship and we’ve taken a step forward.

“When Fev had their indifferent periods, they didn’t drop off the horse as much as we did.

“We’re either up there or down there. We’ve got to find a more middle ground when we’re having our tough periods.”