Bulls prepare for a raft of changes

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The Independent Online

Part of that has been due to a heavy injury toll, especially in the outside backs. Although they lost at Leeds last weekend, for instance, they could legitimately point to the absence of three strike players - Leon Pryce, Lesley Vainikolo and Shontayne Hape - who could have made it a very different game if they had been on the field.

Pryce is back after suspension for today's game at Wakefield, but it is his long-term future that is of more concern to Bulls supporters, with the club's chairman, Chris Caisley, as good as admitting that the player will be joining St Helens next season.

Saints cleared the way for adding Pryce to their squad last week by telling Jason Hooper that they have no room for him on their import quota next season. He should have no difficulty finding a new club if he wants to stay in England, with Salford the early favourites to sign him.

The chances are equally strong that the Bradford and Great Britain winger Stuart Reardon will be with Warrington Wolves next year. Brian Noble is going to have some gaps to fill.

He does at least appear to have filled one that has loomed large this season with the signing of the Torquay-born hooker Ian Henderson from the Australian club Parramatta. Henderson made a steady and encouraging debut against Leeds and will be more effective at getting his forwards running the way they used to as he gets to know them better.

Against that, the Bulls will be without Robbie Paul for the forthcoming five weeks with a broken hand - the latest in a series of injuries that have interrupted his last couple of seasons.

That will put extra respon-sibility on the shoulders of Iestyn Harris, who responded well last week to the indignity of being relegated to the substitutes' bench.

Wakefield themselves showed improved form last week against Saints - their first game under the caretaker-coaching of Tony Smith - but they desperately need a victory.

Even a couple of wins now would probably be too late for Leigh, who are at Huddersfield in today's other game. Super League's basement club put in a big effort against Wigan last week, but they are now too far adrift to have any realistic hopes of survival.

The Giants have plenty to prove after a limp performance at Salford last time out, and will have to improve immeasurably if they are to have any hopes of finishing in the top six.