Return of props gives Gale confidence for big challenge

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FOR every scrum-half, having a strong pack to work with is integral to chances of garnering success for the team.

For Luke Gale, then, the Bradford Bulls schemer currently feels born again.

Bradford Bulls' Luke Gale

Bradford Bulls' Luke Gale

He takes his side into tomorrow’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final with Warrington Wolves reinvigorated considering, for a second week running, he has some actual forwards around him.

It was no surprise Bradford delivered a rare win on Sunday against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats considering they had genuine props – not centres or back-rows doing a makeshift stint – available once more.

Gale subsequently thrived, given the platform to create three first-half tries which did the damage, and he is hoping for a similar impact at Odsal again tomorrow.

“It was a confidence boost, especially coming into this week against Warrington,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

“It was the first time we’d more than two or three forwards and we had three on the bench, too, so it was good to play behind a pack.

“We’ve done it tough at times and played with just one prop but the game’s hard enough with four let alone one. The team’s been missing that all year but we’d worked on some things in training and it came to fruition.”

Gale, 25, accepts Bradford will have to be better again to defeat a Warrington side who have lifted the famous trophy three times in the last five years and defeated leaders Leeds Rhinos in impressive style last week.

He has cited Michael Monaghan, the veteran Australian hooker who won the Lance Todd Trophy when Warrington beat Huddersfield Giants in the 2009 final, as their pivotal player.

“They have got size, pace out wide, look pretty strong and are coming into some form,” said Bradford’s vice-captain, with Warrington proving devastatingly quick and powerful through the middle against Leeds.

“They are a top-class outfit and it’s going to be a tough game.

“Monaghan is the crucial one as, as soon as they get that roll on, he’s hard to stop. The offloads come then from their big men and the likes of Stefan Ratchford, Richard Myler and Chris Bridge play off the back of that so it’s stopping those big men and that ruck speed that is key.”

Bradford, who are still awaiting the decision on their appeal against a six-point deduction for entering administration, have form against Warrington, though, one of only four Super League wins this term coming from a 34-28 success at Odsal against them early last month.

That ended a 10-game losing streak against their opponents and Gale added: “You have to take a lot from that and it is a cup game so anything can happen.

“We go in confident with our forwards back, on a bit of a high and hopefully having turned a corner. We’re looking forward to the chance of getting to a Challenge Cup semi-final and then who knows? It’s a massive game.”

On-loan Antonio Kaufusi is cup-tied so Adam O’Brien returns for Bradford who have given half-back Adam Brook, 19, a first-team contract until the end of 2016.