BRADFORD BULLS hooker Adam O’Brien has no worries about being asked to do 80 minutes every week – in fact, he thrives on it.
The club’s impressive young rake is a rarity in the modern game in that, more often than not, he plays an entire match.
With Jimmy Lowes, the legendary but exacting former Bulls hooker, as his head coach, it is perhaps no surprise.
The energetic O’Brien was to the fore when Bradford stunned Salford Red Devils 41-10 in their last outing, becoming the first Championship side to beat a Super League opponent in the Qualifiers so far.
They will look to replicate that feat and bolster their promotion bid tomorrow when Widnes Vikings, another top-flight opponent, also arrive at Odsal.
“All season we have maybe put 20 minutes or a first- or second-half performance together, so to do it for 80 minutes against Salford was massive,” said O’Brien.
“If we can repeat that against Widnes, put pressure on their halves, and are strong in defence through the middle, then we’ve got a good chance of putting on another good score this weekend.
“The day after Salford when we had recovery, Jimmy said ‘you ran a lot more against Salford and you’re good at it, so I want more of it’.
“He’s put that onus on me so I’ve got to keep performing now against these Super League teams and be one of the top hookers.
“But my focus right now is to play well and be part of the team that gets Bradford Bulls back to Super League.”
Halifax-born O’Brien, 22, played with Bulls among the elite before relegation last term.
The Bulls Academy product added: “I want to become a regular 80-minute hooker in Super League and that’s my target at the moment – to perform and be really good at my job for my team.
“I’ve played quite a lot. Vila (Halafihi) has come in for some games and we’ve shared the role, but in most games I’ve played 80.
“It’s been tough on me but I’ve enjoyed the challenge and to do it against Salford when we had such a big win was especially pleasing.
“You get those spells where you get a bit tired and when it becomes almost impossible to play the full 80 minutes properly.
“You need to rest and maybe need to do that at a scrum or kick in touch.
“But running a bit has given me a bit more confidence to crack on and look forward to facing Widnes.
“Hopefully, we can secure automatic promotion but if we end up in the Million Pound Game we’ll be giving our all, too.”