Bradford hand Cummins the toughest job in Super League
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Tuesday 18 September 2012
Francis Cummins will probably be the youngest coach in Super League next season. He will certainly be the one with the tightest budget and the toughest job.
The 35-year-old former Leeds player was yesterday promoted from assistant to become the Bradford Bulls' new coach. It follows a recommendation from the departing Mick Potter that Cummins was the man to succeed him.
The consortium, headed by businessman Omar Khan and Bradford MP Gerry Sutcliffe, whose purchase of the club was approved last week, came to the same conclusion. "We had no hesitation in taking Mick's recommendation to offer the job to Francis and we're delighted that he has accepted our offer," the new owners said in a statement.
Cummins, who was an assistant on the coaching staff at Leeds before coming to Odsal, has been given a three-year contract after working for nothing for over two months while the club was in the hands of the administrator.
He will be under no illusion about the financial constraints within which he will be working, because the Rugby Football League have driven a hard bargain to allow the club to continue in Super League.
The new owners have had to agree to take no money from the Sky TV pool for the rest of this year and only a half-share for 2013 and 2014. "We haven't got a big budget," said Cummins. "Everyone will be expecting us to finish last."
He believes that outcome is far from inevitable if the Bulls can hang on to their most promising young players. "We've got to promote from within," Cummins added. "If you have a core of players who love the club and want to play for the club, I think you're on a winner."
Cummins knows the value of loyalty. He spent his entire playing career at Leeds where he became the youngest player to feature in the Challenge Cup final, at the age of 17.
Bradford, who finished ninth in Super League , have lost just one player so far, the Wales international prop Craig Kopczak. Others, including highly-rated back-rower John Bateman have said that they want to stay with the club.
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