IN THEORY, Bradford Bulls could get their season off the mark at Wakefield Trinity tonight yet, frustratingly, only in theory.
Even if they do secure victory, they still do not know if that will get them their first genuine points of the campaign.
There was a time when, as any coach or player would say, “two points is two points” but for Bradford it is all a little trickier.
Having lost their Super League opener 36-18 at home to Castleford Tigers on Sunday, the short trip to their fellow West Yorkshire rivals offers a swift chance to get up and running.
But Bradford, of course, are still waiting to learn from the powers-that-be whether they are to receive a points deduction for recently falling into administration.
The general consensus is that the former champions could be hit with a four-point penalty –meaning any success at Belle Vue this evening would still leave them battling to get up to zero.
The delay is a source of frustration among the Odsal faithful given it was almost three weeks ago that its former operating company, OK Bulls Ltd, was placed into administration before immediately being purchased by Bradford Bulls 2014 Ltd.
“With the points deduction especially we’re really disappointed that wasn’t sorted before the competition started,” full-back Brett Kearney told the Yorkshire Post.
“It’s not something we’ve really talked about as a team too much; we’ve only been concentrating on what we can control.
“But it would be nice to get some clarity there so if we need to re-evaluate our goals we can do that. Otherwise, we’ll just have to continue on , starting at Wakefield.”
To read Robbie Hunter-Paul’s thoughts on the Bradford ownership issue click HERE
The uncertainty has materialised predominantly because the new company was only given a 28-day licence by the administrator, who is obliged to consider rival offers in the interim.
During that period, which ends tonight, two players departed with Jarrod Sammut signing for tonight’s opponents on Friday following Garreth Carvell’s acrimonious move to Hull FC.
Sammut, the flamboyant Australian half-back, was in Cardiff this Tuesday to transfer his visa and ensure his application was fast-tracked to make him eligible to debut this evening.
Kearney knows only too well what his former team-mate can create having benefitted from his ingenuity on plenty of occasions in the last two seasons.
“Jaz can do things that not many other people in the comp’ can,” said his fellow Australian.
“One of his best things is how unpredictable he is; it’s hard to say just what he is going to do.
“His unpredictably for us has been good at times, but we’ll have to hope he might take it a bit easy on Thursday night.
“It’s not ideal, especially losing players you’d spent the off-season with, but players do come and go.
“It’s just that the timing wasn’t great for us. We’re professional athletes and we have to put that behind us. We did that pretty well against Cas but there were just a few times we marched them down the field and gave them good position. In the end we couldn’t contain them.
“The first half was tight. We went end to end, we’d throw stuff at them and they were defending well and vice versa.
“It was level at the hour mark but then that ticked over and I think we’d given them too much possession.
“They are a good enough team to make us pay. We can’t do the same at Wakefield.”
To read Wakefield coach Richard Agar’s thoughts ahead of Thursday night’s clash with Bradford click HERE
Trinity started with a loss too, but gained plenty of credit for the manner of their performance at highly-fancied Salford Red Devils. They came from 18-0 down to narrowly miss out 18-14 and have defied their own financial problems to assemble and quickly hone a competitive side.
Bradford have strengthened too this week, though, bringing in prop Anthony Mullally from Huddersfield Giants on loan.
He debuts tonight given an injury to Tom Olbison and will augment their front-row, taking some pressure off their main prop Nick Scruton, who took to Twitter recently to deny claims he would be next to move to Wakefield.
Bradford have not had much time to prepare for this fixture but Kearney said: “Wakey have the same turn around as they played Sunday too. It is like Easter has come early but it’s probably not a bad thing after the Cas result.
“We can get straight back out there and try to get that first win. We’re confident of doing that.”
On his own future, he said: “I’m contracted to Bradford this year and I’ll be staying here this year. I’m quite enjoying my rugby and I’ll definitely look to keep playing. Where it is, well, I’ve not really thought that far down the line.
“The majority of the off-season has been about getting back fit after the (shoulder) injury. Now I have to put some good performances on the board and the other stuff will take care of itself.”