ON-LOAN Bradford Bulls forward Jacob Fairbank admits he does not know quite what to expect when he faces parent club Huddersfield Giants at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow.
After struggling for game time at the Super League high-fliers, he was moved to their West Yorkshire rivals for a month and debuted in Bradford’s win at Salford City Reds last Friday.
Surprisingly, though, Fairbank is allowed to play for them again actually versus Huddersfield at Magic Weekend.
“That was part of the deal,” he told the Yorkshire Post.
“Bradford only agreed to it if they knew I could play in this one and Baloo (Giants coach Paul Anderson) knew I needed some game time so it’s beneficial for him too.
“But it is weird thinking about playing against my team-mates.
“I am looking forward to getting one over a couple of them who give me plenty of stick, Robbo (Luke Robinson) for starters, if I can get hold of him.”
Prop Fairbank, 23, admits he needed the change of scenery after growing disillusioned at John Smith’s Stadium.
He featured early in the campaign but was dropped after the shock Good Friday loss at Salford City Reds and has been unable to force his way back in at the competition’s second-placed side.
“It did get me down at one point as I didn’t know when I was going to get back,” said Fairbank.
“I’d been in and had a chance but didn’t play well enough and I can’t complain as everyone has played so well since.
“I needed a fresh start and Bradford have given me that.
“That was strange, though, too. The first day I turned up was for the final training run-through before that Salford game and I’d never met any of the boys before or knew any of the moves.
“I just took it as I found it, though, and did what I could.
“Everyone’s been really welcoming and I enjoyed it.”
As nephew of Bradford Northern legend and ex-Great Britain firebrand Karl Fairbank, his surprise appearance in Bulls colours has also gone down well with his family.
“I grew up watching Bradford because of my uncle Karl and when he and all the family heard they were really pleased to see I’d be wearing the shirt,” he added.
“My long-term goal is to get back to Huddersfield Giants, though, and get in there as that’s my parent club.
“They’ve been good to me and I owe them some good performances but it’s Bradford first.”
After missing the last five games with a torn pectoral, winger Jamie Foster returns for the Bulls - who stunned Huddersfield 43-18 in March - in place of Michael Platt.