Bulls wary of Burrow threat
Francis Cummins will be hoping to stop First Utility Super League's "strongest man" when his Bradford Bulls team take on his old club in tomorrow’s derby at Odsal.
A week after Leeds' former Bradford captain Jamie Peacock made the 500th appearance of his career, all eyes will be on his team-mate Rob Burrow when he plays his 400th game for the Rhinos.
Cummins was at the peak of his Leeds career when the 5ft 5in Burrow burst onto the Super League scene in 2001 and is in awe at the impact he has made over the last 13 years.
"The first time I saw Rob he was about 14 and half the size he is now," Cummins said.
"You never thought he would get that many games in the first grade.
"Pound for pound he is the toughest player in the game and he's probably the strongest as well.
"These little fellas get hit around the head more often than anybody but he keeps on going and has the heart of a lion.
"He has proved that many times over the last 10 years.
"JP did his 500th last week and now it's Rob's 400th and it's amazing really.
"They are legends of the Leeds club and will be known as such for a long, long time."
Burrow said: "I could never imagine playing so many matches. It's flown by.
"With it being Bradford, it makes it extra special. I'm great mates with Franny, who has done a good job there."
Peacock is being rested for the first Easter game but Bradford are set to come up against stand-off Liam Sutcliffe, who played four matches on loan for them earlier this year.
The 19-year-old, who has played in Leeds' last two matches following his recall, says he benefited from his spell at the Bulls, who were in administration and chronically short of players at the time.
"It will be a bit strange playing against them," Sutcliffe said. "It was a good experience to play over there and get a full game under my belt.
"To have seen first hand what they are going through and the experiences they are having as a group was a real eye-opener for me and that will stand me in good stead for the future.
"Leeds and Bradford games are always tough derby matches and I am sure they will come out wanting to turn us over."
Hull KR coach Craig Sandercock believes both his team and Hull FC will go into the 221st derby at the KC Lightstream Stadium tomorrow night in their best form of the season.
The Robins are on a high following their first win at Warrington Wolves for six years and a fourth-consecutive victory would lift them above their local rivals into the top eight.
"It shows we are taking some steps in the right direction," Sandercock said of his side's 25-12 victory at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium.
"The boys really worked hard for each other and I'm hoping that will continue."
Hull, too, go into the derby on the back of their best win of the season, a 30-6 hammering of last year's league leaders Huddersfield Giants.
"They're playing well," Sandercock admitted. "They had a great win against Huddersfield.
"They've got a massive forward pack and some sharp outside backs."
In tomorrow's other game, London Broncos will seek to get off the mark at the ninth attempt when they take on Catalan Dragons at The Hive.
The Broncos suffered a 40-24 defeat by the Dragons in the fourth round of the Tetley's Challenge Cup just a fortnight ago but coach Tony Rea is hoping home advantage will make the difference this time.
"We've been away for a couple of weeks so the guys are looking forward to playing at home," Rea said.
"We're excited about being in London and it would be nice to see some decent support behind us."