Cummins defends Bulls players after Ferres’s criticism

Chief executive Robbie Hunter-Paul, managing director Steve Ferres,  Bradford Bulls new owner and chairman, Marc Green, and head coach Francis Cummins.
Chief executive Robbie Hunter-Paul, managing director Steve Ferres, Bradford Bulls new owner and chairman, Marc Green, and head coach Francis Cummins.
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Bradford Bulls head coach Francis Cummins says he did not agree with managing director Steve Ferres openly criticising his side for their record loss at Wigan Warriors.

Humiliated Bradford suffered an 84-6 defeat on Easter Monday, the biggest in their Super League history, which prompted Ferres to speak out and make a public apology for the debacle.

He said it was one of the worst displays he had ever seen, described it as the squad hitting a low point, and promised “a root-and-branch review of what went wrong, why it happened and where we are going” is now under way.

The former Castleford Tigers chief executive was only appointed last month following Marc Green’s takeover of the financially-troubled club who sit bottom after seven successive league losses.

But Cummins, who hopes to see his struggling side respond when they host Catalan Dragons in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup tomorrow, insisted: “I don’t think it needed to be said.

“There were some quite obvious things there. A ‘root and branch’?

“I can tell you straight away, you look at what has happened and sometimes that (sort of defeat does) happens. That is Steve’s job. He’s been brought in as managing director and he’s got to look at whatever he’s got to look at.

“But I’ve got a group of players there who have been through hell and have dropped the bundle for the week.

“We capitulated and my frustration has been that we have never once given up on each other but for that one time.”

Bradford, of course, were hit with a six-point deduction after being placed in administration earlier this year and all the uncertainty has obviously had an effect.

The Challenge Cup, though, could offer a source of refuge and, given he sees the return of a raft of key players, Cummins will be hopeful the side can prove their real worth to Ferres.

Furthermore, Bradford were able to bring experienced Hull FC duo Jay Pitts and Joe Arundel in on season-long deals yesterday to bolster their cause.

Arundel is cup-tied but ex-Leeds Rhinos forward Jay Pitts comes straight in while fit-again captain Matt Diskin, wingers Luke George and Jamie Foster, plus prop Adam Sidlow are all included in the 19-man squad once more.

“That’s what I’m looking for – a reaction from last week,” added Cummins. “There has been things said but I’m not here to make any kind of excuses. My job is to protect my players.

“I am really disappointed that we dropped to a standard which on that day wasn’t acceptable.

“We’re looking forward to the Catalan game. We’ve got some players back, brought Joe and Jay in and hopefully in the next week or so we can either get some more loans or actual signings.

“There are things happening now, which is good.”

Cummins has urged his side to match Catalan’s physicality tomorrow.

“We’ve got to start getting in peoples’ faces and ruffling a few feathers like we’ve probably done for the last 18 months.”