A MONTH into the job at Odsal and Mark Dunning has barely had a moment to himself.

But you sense he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s definitely full-on and time-consuming,” admitted the Bulls interim head coach. “You never have an hour off, never mind a day off.

“There’s always something but that’s the world that we live in and you’ll have absolutely no complaints from me.

“It was a bit of a whirlwind when it all happened. But I’m settled in now and have got the backing of the staff and the players. I’ve got to say I’m enjoying it.”

John Kear’s exit from Odsal in the wake of a spirited performance in defeat against leaders Featherstone came as a bombshell because of the timing.

After four-and-a-half years in charge, most fans suspected the veteran coach would call it quits at the end of the season.

Instead, he suddenly left at the end of April by mutual consent – thrusting assistant Dunning into the forefront with little notice.

It is an opportunity that Dunning had hoped would one day materialise, if not in the way that transpired.

“I never made any secret of the fact that this was always the aim one day. Just I would have liked it to be under different circumstances rather than a good man losing his job.

“But through adversity comes opportunity and it’s a challenge I’m really enjoying at the moment.

“I speak to John quite regularly still for a catch-up and we’ve got a number of Wales-qualifying players in the squad. We talk shop and otherwise as well.

“His (golf) handicap has dropped by a couple of shots and he’s enjoying life walking the dogs and spending some time with the family.

“He’s just had a couple of grandchildren born recently as well so I think he’s taking the opportunity to spend as much time as possible with them. Good on him.”

Dunning has been given no insight into how long he might be in the role. The Bulls hierarchy stressed at the time that they would not rush into any decision while they invited interest from outside.

But Dunning is popular with the players and believes he is giving them all a fair crack of the whip. He’s also been prepared to make the big calls like leaving out captain Steve Crossley for the Newcastle game.

“I don’t think I’ve changed because I believed in the philosophy I had before that,” he added.

“When John left, I sat everybody down and spoke to people individually on the phone or face-to-face.

“We spoke as a group and I was pretty honest with everyone and told them it was a fresh start.

“I’d wiped the slate clean. Whether you thought of yourself as somebody out in the wilderness or as a favourite of John, that was all gone now.

“It was going to be based on performance, how they acted in and around the training ground and how they act as teammates as well.

“We’re really big on each person has got to be the best teammate they can. If we get 25-30 blokes doing that, then the team ethos takes care of itself.

“We had a chat about some stuff that I think needed to change on standards in and around the place.

“Full credit to the players, they’ve been absolutely fantastic since that day and I’ve not had to have a wrong word with any of them.

“There have been some tough decisions selection-wise but I’ve sat down and told them the reasons why.

“I believe that’s what anybody should do in life. If you make a decision, you’ve got to have a reason and be prepared to give it.

“Whether other people agree or not, as long as you stand by that decision and explain why then I think that goes a long way.

“I’ve told the staff and players that’s what I do. If I make a decision you’re not overly happy with, if I tell you why then I think you’ll appreciate it.”

The Bulls have won two out of three since Dunning took the helm as they head into a crucial 10-day spell that sends them to Widnes, Featherstone and Sheffield.

He feels his message is getting across and is optimistic with the team's chances heading towards the halfway stage of the Championship campaign.

“Nobody likes uncertainty. It breeds fear and a little bit of trepidation in what they’re going to do.

“One of the first things I asked them was to express themselves without fear of getting things wrong.

“I had to eliminate the opportunity for them to be obsessed and overcome by fear, which we did early on.

“The time that we have with the players we can’t change everything. There are little tweaks happening here and there and my vision of how I want us to play.

“We’ve got to do it very carefully and delicately but we’ve also got to make sure that it’s done as well.

“That’s the challenge and I’m happy and content with where it is so far – and there’s more to come.”