Potter plots another win
7th July 2012
Bradford Bulls coach Mick Potter is hoping his players can again put the club’s crisis to the back of their minds and pick up from where they left off at leaders Wigan Warriors when they take on bottom club London Broncos tomorrow.
Although it is only a week since the Bulls pulled off a stunning 30-22 Stobart Super League win at the DW Stadium, much has happened in that time, with Potter among a host of people made redundant in the club’s battle for survival.
“It seems like an eternity since that Wigan game,” said Potter, who agreed to return to work without pay in the build-up to tomorrow’s game at Odsal. “It seems like a million years ago.”
Potter’s team lost two full training days during the confusion that reigned over administrator Brendan Guilfoyle’s swingeing cost-cutting exercise but the Australian is confident it will not prove too disruptive.
“The way they trained on Thursday, you wouldn’t think they had a care in the world,” he said. “They trained nearly perfect.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, three players will be making their debuts after switching clubs in mid-season.
After bringing forward his move from Salford City Reds, scrum-half Matty Smith goes straight into Wigan’s team to face Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, who will have centre Lee Smith making his first appearance after joining them on loan from Leeds Rhinos.
And Castleford Tigers’ new recruit Jamie Ellis will face Huddersfield Giants after coach Ian Millward brought forward his transfer from Hull FC.
“I can’t wait to play,” Ellis said. “When I found out I had the opportunity to come early it is fair to say I was buzzing.
“It is going to be tough, coming in at this stage of the season with not as much game time as I’d have liked under my belt, but it’s a good opportunity to make an early claim for a start next season and I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Huddersfield will be hoping to return to winning ways ahead of next Sunday’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington Wolves.
Wigan, too, will be hoping to warm up for their semi-final with Leeds when they take on the Wildcats, whose coach Richard Agar is warning his players to expect a backlash from Shaun Wane’s men following their shock defeat by the Bulls.
“You can imagine that Shaun has been putting them through it this week,” Agar said.
“They have a Challenge Cup semi-final on the horizon as well so they will obviously be playing for spots for that.
“On any given day Wigan are probably the biggest challenge in the game so we know what’s coming but knowing what is coming and stopping it are two different things.”
Carl Sneyd will be given the chance to fill Smith’s boots at Salford, who go to Hull KR tomorrow.
The 21-year-old Sneyd will be making his first Super League appearance of the season after the cash-strapped Reds accepted Wigan’s offer of compensation for England half-back Smith.
Salford director of football Steve Simms said: “With just eight games of the season to go we received an offer we couldn’t turn down from Wigan.
“We have some terrific options at half-back at Salford and Matty moving on will allow somebody else to step forward and shine.”
Rovers are considering giving a Super League debut to 20-year-old back-row forward James Laithwaite after he joined them on loan from Warrington.
“He’s a kid I’ve had my eye on for a while,” said Rovers coach Craig Sandercock said. “He has been playing really well in the Championship for Leigh.
“He looks like a Super League player playing at that level and is someone who will hopefully make a positive contribution to our team.”
One coach hoping to not make any changes tomorrow is Denis Betts, whose Widnes Vikings side lifted themselves off the foot of the table with Monday’s impressive win over Castleford.
“The one thing I would really like to do is something that I have not had a chance to do all year and that is to pick the same side two weeks on the trot,” he said.
“That would be a real bonus and offer us the consistency and stability we have been striving for all season.”