BRADFORD BULLS winger Omari Caro insists he has “no hard feelings” towards Hull KR head coach Chris Chester ahead of his first return to Craven Park following a bizarre exit.
Caro was the East Yorkshire club’s top try-scorer in 2014, crossing 14 times in just a dozen games, but only found out he wouldn’t be retained at its end-of-season awards dinner.
He spent time out of the game altogether, returning home to London and working in a shop before playing for Blackheath RU and at the Hong Kong Sevens.
Bradford chief James Lowes, however, signed Caro for the Championship club in July on a deal until the end of the season and he has proved similarly prolific, scoring five tries in six games to earn a contract for 2016.
They head to Hull KR tomorrow in their Qualifiers tie as the fallen World Club Challenge winners bid to revive their hopes of an instant Super League return.
“Obviously I’ve been looking forward to this for a while but it’s just any other game I suppose,” insisted Caro.
“It would be good to get back up there and see a few people and hopefully prove a few people wrong. I’ve never had any real communication with them (Chester and the club) since but I didn’t really expect to.
“As I said before I have no hard feelings towards them and I’ll say ‘hello’ to Chez. We’re both grown men now so it’s not a case of ignoring him; I’ll speak to him and see how he’s getting on.
“From what I’d heard they’d always handled business well with players so maybe I was just a one-off but there’s no hard feelings.”
Caro, who showed his startling pace scoring a 90m interception try against Widnes Vikings on Sunday, has thrived with Bradford since returning to the code.
He hopes to celebrate his new one-year deal, announced on Thursday, with another solid display against Rovers, who responded after their embarrassing 50-0 Challenge Cup final loss to Leeds Rhinos with a 20-18 win over Wakefield last weekend.
KR, meanwhile, currently lead the Qualifiers having won all four games so far.
“A lot of the boys were disappointed with how they performed at Wembley and obviously the score,” said Caro, who remains firm friends with Robins such as Kieran Dixon, Kevin Larroyer, Graeme Horne and Kris Welham.
“But they had the chance to right their wrongs last week and they did. I think their Super League status is pretty much safe now for next year and hopefully we’ll get to see a few young lads play this weekend who were coming through when I was there.
“Matty Marsh was always training with us in those two years but didn’t really get a look-in so I’m glad to see him playing now.
“I spoke to him after he played against Widnes recently – his first start – and he had a good game.
“He’s always been a stand-out for me with the young players.”
Rovers will be without a raft of first-teamers and so, with the pressure off the hosts, is there any likelihood they will perhaps be a little laissez-faire?
“There’s always that thing of winning all your games and thinking you can just coast through the rest of the season,” added Caro.
“But with Chezzy in charge I don’t think he’ll let them coast.
“Hopefully they have an off-day and we have one of our good days like a few weeks ago against Salford and catch them cold.”
Bradford are still the only Championship side to defeat a top-flight outfit in the Qualifiers following that stunning 41-10 win over Salford at Odsal. Caro recalled: “We showed what we’re capable of. It’s just doing that every week against class opposition.
“We didn’t show that last weekend, not for the full 80 minutes.”
Bulls lost 56-12 to Widnes, despite trailing just 14-12 at half-time, so their hopes of earning automatic promotion have taken a sizeable hit. Lowes’s side are fifth having won two of four games so – if things stayed as they are – that would secure an away fixture in the Million Pound Game for the chance to secure the final Super League place in 2016.
Of course, if they can cause a shock this afternoon, third would be on again and it would provide a real lift heading into next week’s crucial game at Championship frontrunners Leigh Centurions before rounding off at home to winless Halifax.