Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins knows his meticulous planning could be rendered useless in the early stages of the Super League season.
His side entertain Castleford Tigers in the televised game this evening looking for an instant response after Sunday’s disappointing loss at Hull FC.
Their visitors are buoyant after stunning champions Leeds Rhinos with a 14-12 win played out in atrocious conditions last weekend.
With the inclement weather likely to continue for some time, Cummins accepts his side – so fluent when thrashing Wakefield at Odsal a fortnight ago – might have to revert to “mud and guts” football.
“It is about field position and if you are playing in those sorts of conditions then that’s when your forwards earn their money and your kickers too,” he explained.
“It does put another angle on the game and you have to make sure you win all the little battles.
“It may be that all the patterns you have worked on in training don’t come off and you just have to find another way to play, which is intriguing in itself.
“It can affect the spectacle really and it might not be too much like Super League and summer rugby.
“Often it just has to go back to old-fashioned mud and guts.”
Cummins sees plenty of resemblance between themselves and Castleford who many foresee as being likely rivals to snatch a top-eight place come the end of the campaign. “We always have tough games against Castleford and in a lot of ways I think we are very similar in where we are as clubs at the moment,” he commented, with their West Yorkshire neighbours having endured their own financial strife of late.
“Although they have been able to bring in seven or eight players they, like us, have not got the biggest squad.
“They have a lot of dangerous players in there and they will be tough opponents for us.
“Their starting line-up, like ours, is very strong and, again like us, they have some young players in there who will be tested, as we will, throughout the season.
“Cas have brought some good professionals in who will be able to help the young players who may well have to play as the season progresses.
“They had a great win against Leeds last week and we’ve looked at some footage of that.
“To defeat the champions takes a lot of effort but they really deserved it and they’ll be coming here looking for another two points.”
Bradford remain confident, however, that they can address the problems they suffered at the KC Stadium and deliver their second win of the campaign.
Cummins’s side enjoyed plenty of threatening positions against Hull only to find themselves unable to provide the necessary cutting edge to break down their hosts who prospered 28-12. He is likely to give the same players a chance to redeem themselves and added: “I must have shown them 10 clips where we’ve hit one option and if we’d taken another one we would have scored tries.
“We weren’t that far away and I really liked that they stuck at it.
“They worked really hard, had to chase back at times and we got a couple of tries late on but really, we were just off the mark.
“We started really slowly, gave Hull some easy ball and they offloaded really well but we are not down at all.
“We are just disappointed that we didn’t put on a good show and it was a drop in intensity from the week before.”