Pitts plans a warm welcome for Tongan ‘wrecking ball’

Jay Pitts scores a tryJay Pitts scores a try
Jay Pitts scores a try
BRADFORD Bulls forward Jay Pitts says he is eagerly anticipating seeing what all the fuss is about Fuifui Moimoi.

Some would say such a statement, rather than brave, is foolish or naive.

Moimoi, the veteran Tonga-born Kiwi prop who has joined ambitious Leigh Centurions as the Championship’s marquee signing, is renowned for his ferocity and destructive quality.

No-one, surely, can actually enjoy getting in his way?

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However, perhaps Pitts’s stance says plenty about his own club’s mentality ahead of the three-time World Club Challenge victors’ invidious position of starting life in the second tier tomorrow.

Maybe Bradford, relegated from Super League in dire circumstances last term, will see all the new experiences to come as a cathartic episode.

“I’ve watched him play over in the NRL and he is a big man,” Pitts told The Yorkshire Post, on the champions’ new arrival from Parramatta Eels.

“He’s a wrecking ball over there so it’ll be good to see how tough he really is to tackle. I’m looking forward to it.

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“It’s been a long pre-season so it’s going to be nice to get going again. We’ve had a couple of friendlies but they’re never the same intensity.”

There is a palpable positive vibe about tomorrow’s high-profile Championship opener at Leigh Sports Village, which pits the reigning Grand Final winners and a side intent on earning promotion as the competition’s new structure comes into play, against one of the sport’s fallen giants.

Former Wakefield Trinity and Leeds Rhinos back-row Pitts admitted: “There’s been some real profile for the Championship building up to this and I reckon it should be as well as it’s such a great competition.

“There’s a lot of good teams in there and it deserves more publicity than it has probably got in the past.

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“Leigh are a good team who have made some good signings and everyone has tipped them to be up there, rightly so having won the league last year.

“We’ll be confident, though, and we’re only really thinking about ourselves.”

Of course, if anyone is to earn promotion from the Super 8s – when the elite’s bottom four form a mid-division with the Championship’s top quartet after 23 rounds – most neutrals will expect Bradford to be that team.

They have been tagged as favourites despite ruthless Leigh losing just one league game last season and switching from part-time to full-time in readiness for the year ahead.

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“We’ll let everyone else put the pressure on and we’ll just aim to go out and do our best each week,” added Pitts, who played 18 games for Bradford on loan from Hull FC last term and, after impressing amid all the turmoil, has since made the move permanent.

“It’ll be a different challenge each time and we will have to take it one game at a time but, hopefully, we’ll be back up there in Super League come the end of it all.

“That’s where we all want to be but we know it’s not going to be easy.

“I had a couple of options but I enjoyed myself a lot at Bradford last year even under difficult circumstances – and like to think I was playing decent rugby – so it was an easy decision to make.

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“I can see this club moving forward and, more than anything, I’m enjoying my rugby so realised this is probably the best place for me.”

Bradford coach James Lowes has primed his squad well and completed some key recruitment ahead of the unfamiliar challenges that lie in wait.

Pitts, 25, concurred: “Looking at our squad, there is a hell of a lot of Super League experience and that’s only going to help especially when it gets to the business end of the year and maybe when some of the games are a bit more hectic or not going the way we want it to.

“Hopefully, that will put us in good stead.

“We know Leigh will be tough but we want to start with a win and we have been building up for this. Now we want to start.”

Whatever happens, with the like of Moimoi involved, this season looks destined to be eventful.