JOHN Kear saluted Thomas Doyle as his Bulls’ stand-out player so far - as he took another swipe at the RFL’s academy ruling.

The 21-year-old hooker has been an ever present during the absence of George Flanagan and Sam Hallas.

Kear has been hugely impressed by the efforts of the homegrown Doyle, who scored his second try of the campaign in last week’s win at London.

The Bulls coach said: “Tom Doyle has done a magnificent job in our number nine spot with George Flanagan suspended and Sam Hallas injured. The kid has borne the brunt of it and been absolutely first class.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the lad. He ends up doing 40-50 tackles regularly, 13-14 carries and probably eight and a half to 10 kilometres.

“The thing that has really impressed me is that the quality of his work hasn’t declined.

“I’m absolutely over the moon and at this moment in time he’s my player of the season.

“There’s been a huge responsibility on him but while we’ve had two experienced players missing, he’s come up with some great form that’s contributed to the team’s improvement.”

Having returned to full contact training, Hallas is pencilled in for a comeback against Newcastle a week on Sunday.

The Bulls have been scouring for loan back-up at hooker but Kear feels Doyle’s form has not wavered.

“We’ve asked about a number of hookers who have been unavailable for one reason or another. We’re still asking.

“I still wouldn’t rule out playing someone there this week to alleviate a bit of the toil on Tom because obviously the week after we’re hoping to have Sam back.

“I’m just trying to help the kid but, in all honesty, he keeps telling me he doesn’t need it and I can’t refute that with his performance.

“He knows he’s playing well, he’s contributing massively and playing big minutes. His confidence should rightly be very high.”

Doyle was among seven of the 17 players used in the last game who had come through the Bulls production line.

The club are still considering whether to appeal the RFL’s decision not to grant them an elite academy licence but Kear remains “gobsmacked” by the snub.

“What people have to realise is that despite all the troubles of the last decade or so, the one constant was the academy,” he said.

“The reason why the club kept the academy – and I spoke at length to Andrew Chalmers and have done the same with Mark Sawyer and Nigel Wood – is that you must have one for a sustainable Super League side.

“I’m upset that we’ve lost ours and gobsmacked that there are going to be Super League teams playing without an academy.

“You must have back-up players and ones that you are developing. The obvious way to do that is with an academy.

“Castleford and Hull Kingston Rovers won’t have one – I’d be absolutely ticked off if I were those two clubs and Salford and Leeds, to tell you the truth.

“If you’re going to compete within Super League, you need an academy for squad depth and affordability.

“If it is about saturation (for not getting a licence), whoever is in charge of participation in the RFL needs to get his finger out.

“There is no schools rugby, that’s virtually gone. It’s just the clubs.

“There’s a way of increasing participation, so put some money and resource into that.”

Another academy graduate, Olly Wilson, could be back in a Bulls shirt for Sunday’s Odsal homecoming against York after signing on loan from Huddersfield.

Giants team-mate Ashton Golding has also joined on an initial two-week deal and hopes to be involved.

Danny Brough and Ben Evans are both expected to be available after their injury concerns against London.