Bulls hope to focus on on-field issues
Bradford Bulls will aim to put more off-field drama to the back of their minds when they take on Castleford Tigers in the Monday night Stobart Super League fixture at Odsal tomorrow.
Still coming to terms with the heart attack suffered by centre Adrian Purtell, the Bulls saw the threat of administration re-surface over the weekend when it was revealed the club’s financial worries are even worse than initially portrayed.
Director Stephen Coulby says an independent financial review showed the Bulls are losing £100,000 a month and need a further injection of £1.25million by the end of the season to keep the club afloat.
Of more pressing concern for the players is the future of Purtell, 27, who was released from hospital on Wednesday after undergoing surgery for a blocked artery and is expected to attend tomorrow’s game with his parents, who have flown over from Australia to aid his recovery.
“He’s been given a programme for exercise and his parents have come over so he’ll have to take them somewhere,” said Bradford coach Mick Potter, who admits the health scare rocked the club.
“Everyone is concerned for Adrian’s health,” he added. “It puts it all into perspective.
“It shows how quickly things can turn on you. It’s a bit of a life check really, that rugby league is not that important. Your health is the most important thing.
“It’s just a game. All of a sudden, his career could be put in jeopardy by something that seems small yet could be life-changing.”
Bradford captain Heath L’Estrange admits the players are still coming to terms with the drama which took place on the team coach returning from Sunday’s derby with Leeds Rhinos in Manchester.
“We thought he was severely dehydrated when we stopped at Huddersfield hospital to drop him off and, when they finally told us what had happened, it really hit home,” said L’Estrange.
“It’s devastating for Adrian to be struck down by something like that at 27 years of age.
“He’s a bloke I drive to training with every day, he’s my chauffeur.
“But everyone has been really positive and he was overwhelmed by all the messages. I’ve got get-well cards from all the schools we’ve been to and I think he had 500 new followers on Twitter in 10 minutes.
“We’re a big family. You never wish this on anybody. For someone so close to be struck down with this is terrible.
“He’s home now and he’s got his colour and strength back. His mum and dad were on the first flight and his big sister has come over from Kuwait so he’s in good hands.”
Meanwhile, Potter has recalled Ian Sibbit, Adam O’Brien, Shaun Ainscough, Phil Joseph and Tom Olbison to offset the loss through injury of Chev Walker, Craig Kopczak, Matt Diskin and Elliot Kear as well as Purtell.
Sibbit has not played since damaging his shoulder at Castleford in February, O’Brien has yet to feature for the first team this season due to an ankle injury and Joseph is also fit after an ankle problem.
Castleford have utility back Ryan McGoldrick available after completing a two-match suspension.