BRADFORD Bulls coach John Kear lauded the return of the Yorkshire Cup after it concluded with silverware for his side today.

He spoke of the elation at battling with fellow finalists, Batley Bulldogs, in a tight, but hard-fought affair which saw them eventually run out as 14-12 winners at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.

The full-blooded tie has given Kear “many more plus points than negatives” but it has left him with fresh injury concerns, however.

He said: “We’re really pleased, I think it’s been a great occasion to tell you the truth, I think it’s probably a big vindication of the relaunch of the competition.

“It’s been a big crowd, it was a pretty competitive game and there was no quarter asked or given and I just think anybody who’s been will have been royally entertained by two fully committed teams.”

More than 3,000 fans came to cheer on their sides, in a match where the pendulum swung back and forth between the two teams.

Kear said: “The feeling of elation when you win a game like, that’s far better than when you’ve won a game with 50 odd points, when you’ve been sat with you know, a brandy and cigar with your feet up later.

“We know we’ve had to work really hard to achieve something today – the players have worked hard, they’ve achieved it and the feeling of satisfaction after, that’s tremendous.”

Kear said he was particularly impressed with his side’s resolve and speed in getting back to scramble but admitted there was still work to be done.

He said: “I thought the last try was a pretty soft try. I don’t know whether he played the ball in the right direction or whatever but it seemed to come out skew-whiff from the ruck area and Dom Brambani had a stroll in so we’ll have to have a good look at that because that wasn’t really acceptable.”

Batley, a fellow Championship side for the upcoming season, had three players sin-binned during the match, with two yellows shown to Bulls’ George Flanagan throughout the 80.

Kear said he’d warned his players about Batley’s physicality and that the final had been a good test for the coming season.

He added: “Well, I think the players believe me now when I said when you go to Batley, if you’re going to get anything, you’ve got to work for it and at times you’re going to be made to feel uncomfortable and they’ll be very physical and they’ll come at you and they won’t stop coming at you for 80 minutes and I think they believe me now.

“That’s basically what the Championship is and we know full well this sort of challenge is going to be week in, week out and obviously answering that challenge is the task that we’ve got.”

Kear’s new injury worries come for Ashley Gibson and Elliot Minchella, with the coach conceding the team would have to think carefully about squad selection for their final friendly on Saturday. 

He said the Bulls want to put in a good performance against Toronto, but the Championship first round tie the following week remains the priority.

Kear revealed Gibson picked up a shoulder and bicep knock in the first minute and couldn’t use his arm so had to come off.

He said: “It did mess our rotations up a little bit with regards to the minutes, because I didn’t really want Jy Hitchcox playing the full 80 but he ended up doing that and acquitted himself, except from a kick-off, pretty well.”

Minchella has come away with a calf strain.

Kear said: “We’re playing a lot of games, we’re getting one or two injuries so we’re going to have to really, seriously think about who we’re turning out against Toronto on Saturday afternoon.

“We’ll have to really have a look at our medical department and assess who we’ve got to wrap in cotton wool to make sure they’re ready and available for Featherstone.”