Bradford Bulls coach John Kear urges club owners to sort out off-field issues

BRADFORD BULLS head coach John Kear expressed pride in his players after their Odsal farewell – but urged the club’s owners to sort their own issues.

Bradford beat Sheffield Eagles 30-10 yesterday in what was billed their last-ever game at the famous ground where they have operated since 1934.

Owner Andrew Chalmers has said they will move to Dewsbury Rams’ stadium in 2020 due to cost issues at the ground.

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Meanwhile, the RFL has put the club in “special measures” due to financial concerns meaning Bradford are unable to sign new players for next term.

Bradford's Rhys Evans  scorer of the last try at OdsalBradford's Rhys Evans  scorer of the last try at Odsal
Bradford's Rhys Evans scorer of the last try at Odsal

Asked how much of a concern it was to be in such a state, Kear said: “That’s up to our owner and administration to make sure they work with the RFL for us to come out of there.

“That’s because obviously we need to sign some players for next year.

“We need to retain players as well but we only have 14 players signed up and I want to run with a squad of 22 or 23.

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“We really do need to nail this special measures stuff and get out of it.

“It is sad (leaving Odsal), but I don’t know the finances in ultimate detail so we have just got to keep this club alive and kicking and hopefully progressing.

“That’s what we will be attempting to do at Dewsbury next year before hopefully we come back somewhere in Bradford that is befitting of a team that is challenging for Super League or is in Super League.”

Bradford’s faint hopes of making the Championship play-offs are over despite the result in their final home game.

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On the occasion at the iconic ground - which famously housed 102,569 people for the 1954 Challenge Cup final replay - Kear said: “I thought the players were a little bit too involved emotionally initially .

“They sent us off in a great manner and I’m really pleased with what the players have done.

“I know we can’t get in the play-offs now because of Featherstone winning, but if someone had said to me at the start of the season that you’d come sixth in the league and were going to have a great cup run, I’d be highly delighted with that.”

Joe Keyes got Bradford up and running with a quality individual try and, though they only led 12-4 at the break after Jake Webster’s effort, further tries from Ross Peltier, Ethan Ryan, Brandon Pickersgill and Rhys Evans made sure.

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Eagles’ only scores came from Joel Farrell and James Meadows as Bradford replaced them in sixth and Kear said: “Obviously it is a highly emotional day and to have 7,500 folk wave us off, I’m just so pleased we did it in the right manner.

“Sheffield are a good team, but today is about Bradford and thankfully we didn’t fluff our lines.

“The players were so committed to each other.”