CHALLENGE CUP king John Kear admits he doesn’t know what to expect from Leeds Rhinos in tomorrow’s sixth round derby at Odsal.
It is Leeds’ first game since the sacking of team boss Dave Furner was announced on Tuesday. Kear is known for his meticulous preparation, but conceded how Rhinos will respond to this week’s upheaval is “the one question we can’t answer”.
He said: “There could be some players who did not get on with Dave and will be glad he has gone and others who did get on with him and will be sorry he has left.
“We don’t know. What we have got to do is attempt to take that our of our thinking and concentrate on what we can control, which is how we have prepared and what we intend to do to make sure we come ready to play to the best of our ability.”
Tomorrow’s tie is the big city rivals’ first meeting since Bulls were relegated from Super League in 2014 and Kear declared his team “excited and enthusiastic” about the “massive challenge” ahead.
“I know they haven’t had the best of starts, resulting in Dave Furner losing his job, but you look at their team and they have [Konrad] Hurrell, [Kallum] Watkins, Adam [Cuthbertson], Richie [Myler], Tom [Briscoe] - they have got quality all over the park,” he observed.
“It could be argued they haven’t been in the best of form and I hope that continues in this game, but should they get their act together they are a very good rugby league team. That is a fact and we need to be on our guard for that.”
With Bulls sixth in the Betfred Championship after eight wins and five defeats so far this season, Kear insisted: “It is a free-hit for us.
“People will expect us to play well, but not many expect us to win. The pressure is off us, we can enjoy it – but we are not going to die wondering.