Airlie Birds duo aim to prove point at Bradford

Jay Pitts.
Jay Pitts.
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Hull FC’s Lee Radford says releasing Joe Arundel and Jay Pitts on season-long loans to Bradford Bulls is for their own good.

The Airlie Birds confirmed yesterday that the pair, who have plenty of Super League experience, will be allowed to move on temporarily.

England Knights centre Arundel joined from Castleford Tigers ahead of last season but has struggled for a place this term and prop/second-row Pitts signed from Leeds Rhinos two years ago.

Arundel, 22, is contracted at the KC Stadium until the end of 2016 but the 24-year-old Pitts’s deal runs out this November.

They have made just five appearances between them in Super League this term, instead spending time at Doncaster on dual-registration, and so, clearly, will be more use to Bradford, who are fighting to avoid relegation.

“They’re down the pecking order at the moment and at their age they need the opportunities to get games and play,” said head coach Radford.

“The emergence of Dean Hadley in the back-row has probably limited Jay’s opportunities in a position that is very competitive with the likes of Gareth Ellis, Joe Westerman, Chris Tuson, Richard Whiting and Jordan Thompson all able to play there.

“It’s a similar story for Joe at centre, too. Young Ben Crooks has a very bright career ahead of him and we see him as having a long-term future for us in that position, whilst Kirk Yeaman has been consistently our strongest centre for a number of years.

“Whiting has also played in there a few times, too, this season.

“This is a good chance for them to show what they’re about and take the opportunity. I think they’ll be better for it.”

Bradford coach Francis Cummins watched the pair train with his side for the first time yesterday morning and, while Arundel is cup-tied so will not feature against Catalan Dragons in tomorrow’s Challenge Cup fifth round tie at Odsal, ex-Wakefield forward Pitts should debut.

“Jay and Joe are young, hungry and hugely talented individuals who we are extremely excited to have on board,” he said.

“I coached Jay at Leeds, so I know a fair bit about him, and Joe has a proven track record at this level.

“Both of them need to be playing in the sport’s top flight.

“Jay will bolster our pack, as he has an ability to play in a number of different positions, while Joe provides much-needed competition in our three-quarter line.

“I am sure both of them are itching to get out there and we are excited about what they can bring to the team.”