Bradford Bulls


12th February 2018, 12:24


Joe Keyes believes last Sunday's fiery Keighley Cougars clash will act as the perfect preparation for Sunday's eagerly anticipated trip to face York City Knights.

The Ireland international has called on his team-mates to relish the pressure of donning the Red, Amber and Black jersey as the Bulls open the season this Sunday.

John Kear’s men edged a bruising encounter yesterday to lift the Joe Phillips Memorial Trophy - loanee Liam Johnson bagged a brace of tries, with Alex Brown, Brandon Pickersgill and Elliot Minchella also crossing the whitewash for the hosts.

Both sides were reduced to 11 men as referee Liam Staveley dished out no fewer than six cards in total as tempers flared following a succession of high shots.

And the half-back, who returned to the side following a serious knee injury sustained in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, admits he and his team-mates will have to get used to similar tactics and stick to the game plan, starting with the trip to York City Knights this Sunday.

“It was a tough game, Keighley are a tough side to play against and we knew it would get a bit spicy,” said Keyes, who is being sponsored by George Timberley, Amelia and Jayden Cuffe.

“Personally, it was good to get through the 80 minutes, it was tough on the legs in some difficult conditions out there, but the knee held up fine.

“We have got a target on our heads this year, we know teams are going to come right at us and rough us up as best as they can. We will not expect anything this year.

“We got sucked into the aggression a bit too much, we need to deal with it better and play our own game.

“The conditions meant it became a little bit scrappy, but it was good preparation for York on Sunday.

 “York have a very solid team, so we will need to be at our best to get anything from the game.”

Get your tickets for this Sunday’s season opener at Bootham Crescent from the club shop. While you are there, you can book your return coach travel with the club.