THE Bulls are ready and raring to go for the real battle in the Championship, insists John Kear.

This afternoon’s Odsal clash with Toronto Wolfpack marks the end of a hectic pre-season as Kear’s troops build up to next week’s opening clash with Featherstone.

And the coach believes the demanding warm-up schedule has ensured they are primed to hit the ground running.

Kear said: “We are ready, believe you me. I’m confident that we are ready.

“We’ve played York, tough, Halifax, tough, Dewsbury, tough, Batley, very tough. That was hard at Mount Pleasant.

“But we are battle-hardened and ready for what the Championship is going to throw at us.

“I can’t wait for February 3 to come along. I’m really excited by the challenges we will face week in, week out.

“We couldn’t be any more prepared. It’s a shame we’re not playing this Sunday in a competitive game.

“But that Yorkshire Cup, and all the lead-up games, have given me and the players the absolute confidence that we are ready for what lies ahead.”

Promotion favourites Toronto will provide an equally testing final friendly, although Kear is keeping some powder dry by taking no chances with the likes of Elliot Minchella and Ashley Gibson.

Some have questioned the amount of pre-season games the Bulls have played but game-time has been carefully checked.

Kear added: “Six friendlies may be a game perhaps too many. But we’ve monitored the players’ minutes.

“Matty Storton has played the most with 264 – he’s the only player who will go above 300 if he plays at the weekend.

“Nobody else will have gone that many and 300 minutes is less than four games of rugby league.

“Although, we’ve had six appearances for our team, we’ve had enough players to share it out.

“Yes, they are battle-hardened but they have not been overused.

“The word we’ve used all along is intensity. Game-by-game it has got more intense so your focus and performance had to be greater – and the players have answered that.

“It’s been a great build-up and we’ve still got Toronto to play.

“We’ve tested ourselves against four outstanding Championship teams – and now we’re going to test ourselves against the favourites.”

Brian McDermott, a cornerstone of the “awesome foursome” of the Bulls heyday, is back at his old stamping ground ahead of his first season at the Toronto helm.

The Wolfpack coach told the T&A: “It’s always good to go back to where it started for me. Odsal is a great place to play – one of the best stadiums in the game.

“John Kear has given them great leadership and to get promoted was a big thing. It’s not to be sniffed at.

“It wasn’t helping the game at all when they were knocking about in the third tier. I’m sure their aim is to get promoted and back into Super League.”

Opposite number Kear’s focus today is more on how his team perform rather than the result itself.

He said: “All I’m looking for is the players who go out there to give a good account of themselves.

“They’ve all got little individual goals to achieve like Steve Crossley playing more minutes. The younger lads will have different ones.

“I’ll be delighted if we meet them and give a good performance. Then we will be ready for Featherstone.”