While on paper, seventh versus ninth in the Championship might not jump out of the fixture list heading into the weekend. But Bradford Bulls’ match against Dewsbury Rams on Sunday has its own little subplot.
It’s not every game a coach comes up against another who gave him his professional debut as an 18-year-old. But that will be the case at Odsal when John Kear lines up against Lee Greenwood.
Then the coach of Sheffield Eagles, John Kear handed Greenwood his debut off the bench in the Eagles’ 52-2 defeat to Bradford Bulls at Saltergate in Chesterfield.
“It’s funny how the game works and you end up coaching against him,” said Greenwood. “I’ve always been thankful for John doing that.”
Kear isn’t surprised at the job Greenwood is doing at the Rams.
“I think he’s done a really good job with Dewsbury,” said Kear. “Since he’s gone in there, there’s been a gradual change in personnel and improvement in performance.
“I’ve known Lee for many years, he’s always been a student of Rugby League. He’s always enjoyed analysing the tactics and techniques of the game.”
The sides have already met this season in a pre-season friendly but Greenwood reckons you can’t read too much into the result from that game, a close Bradford win.
“We went there in a friendly in pre-season, it was pretty tight and they just edged it in the end. There will be quite a few changes from that game so I wouldn’t read too much into it.
“We’re both coming off the back of good wins in the league. We need to go with the same mindset as we did at Featherstone. It’ll be just as tough a challenge.
“Bradford will be up there, in my opinion, come the back end of the season. We’ve shown what we can do when we get it right, we need to get belief from that and turn up like that.”
Meanwhile, Bradford are also relishing the challenge but know they’re fortunate to be facing a Rams side without talisman Paul Sykes who misses the game through suspension.
“Fortunately for us, Paul Sykes is suspended, they’ll play Simon Brown there, but even then he’s got a lot of experience at that level. We’re comfortable we know what we’re going to face and that it’ll be difficult to overcome. But we’re confident we can overcome it.
“They’ve got big men in the middle, they can certainly play some route one football. They’ve got a really clever halfback, someone I know very well, in Liam Finn. They’re a very compact and tidy Championship team.”