John Kear was left counting the cost of defeat to Dewsbury on the ground the Bulls will call home this season, including a broken arm sustained by key signing Sam Barlow.
Former Halifax and Leigh forward Barlow suffered the injury following an awkward collision while carrying the ball, compounding a miserable afternoon for Kear, who was left disappointed by his team’s performance in the 25-12 defeat.
He told RL NEWS: “Sam Barlow has broken his arm and that’s probably the biggest negative of the lot today.
“That’s what happens when you play so many pre-season games.
“You get bumps, bruises and you get some serious injuries, and that’s what we’ve got with Sam.
“He’s carried the ball and hit one of the Dewsbury players on their head, a total accident, and I think it’s broken his ulna.
“That’ll be casted up and it’ll cost us, but nothing you can do about it – that’s Rugby League.”
Reflecting on the performance of his team, Kear says he was concerned that his players weren’t in the right mindset for the game, following high-profile clashes with Castleford and Leeds in previous weeks.
He said: “It’s pretty easy as a player to wind yourself up to play against Castleford on Boxing Day, with a big crowd, and pretty easy to wind yourself up for 20,000 folk at Headingley.
“But you need to wind yourself up for games against teams in the same competition as you and we didn’t.
“I thought Dewsbury out-enthused us, out-worked us, out-smarted us and they were comprehensively better than us, so credit to them.
“I’ve said to the players that they can play themselves into spots and they can play themselves out of them, and one or two have today.”
Kear added: “It was pretty indifferent, individually and as a group.
“I’ve probably learned more from that than the previous two, so it’s been useful in that way, and there’s a lot to fix up.
“It feels like a step forward in regards to finding out about people and their ability to play at this level.”
Rams boss Lee Greenwood was pleased by the performance of his team, but insisted the result was immaterial.
He told RL NEWS: “It was a grubby game that was forward-orientated and there wasn’t much of an attacking threat posed by either team for quite a long time.
“We’re still struggling in attack when we’re near the try line and there’s some panic about us that has been there for all three friendlies.
“But we went a bit more direct as the game progressed, and benefited from that, and both teams controlled the ball better in the second half.
“I’m not that bothered about results. I wasn’t that bothered that we lost to Keighley last week and I’m not going to go to a party tonight because we’ve beat Bradford.
“What I was most happy with was the positives from individuals, and 1 to 20 all showed something today.”
Greenwood added that he is positive about the prospect of sharing the club’s home ground with today’s opponents throughout 2020.
He said: “I’m not opposed to the ground share, I have a lot of respect for Bradford and I don’t want to see them in bother.
“Whether it’s West Wales, Leeds or whoever, I don’t want to see any club go under.
“If helping them out this year means our field is a little bit muddy then I’m not too bothered.
“There will be benefits for both clubs and I’m sure they’ll be back to Bradford sooner rather than later, in a stronger position that they were when they left.
“And if the income can help us with our recruitment or our facilities then everyone’s a winner.”