A SIGN that Bradford Bulls’ fortunes could finally be turning is perfectly illustrated by the arrival of France international prop Jamal Fakir.
Losing two such established and high-pedigree front-rows as Nick Scruton and Garreth Carvell to rival clubs, as coach Francis Cummins has had to witness this season, would ordinarily cause severe headaches for anyone. Quality props are hard to come by and everyone knows if you do not have power and size in the middle, the rest of your game plan inevitably suffers.
So, for Cummins, after so much misfortune, it must have been pure gold when Fakir quit Catalan last month after – as one of the casualties of their dire start – the 31-year-old was relegated to their reserves.
It caused an irreparable rift between the player and a club he has served since before their first Super League season of 2006.
Granted, Fakir had not been in the best of form and he does, traditionally, have a poor record with discipline. But in full flight, with that robust and fiery attitude of his, he is an immense sight.
So, eager to prove Catalan foolish, he is perfect right now for Cummins’s lightweight and inexperienced forward set.
“As soon as that happened, I wanted Jamal to come here and bolster our pack,” said Cummins.
“A no-nonsense, go-forward prop is exactly what we need.
“There were a few days where Jamal had to settle down after what happened at Catalan but, after spending time with his family, he was ready to go again and once I knew that hunger was there, we made a move.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to bring someone with international class here. Ten years in Super League is huge and he’s got that international experience as well.
“Generally these players don’t become available. The good thing is he’s got the bit between his teeth to prove people wrong and we need that sort of energy and determination to make things happen.”
Fakir debuts against Oldham in the Challenge Cup on Sunday.