Harris' arrival gives Bulls a timely charge

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The Independent Online

One of the more surprising developments in Super League in recent years has been the return of the mid-season signing. In the days of fixed-term contracts and squads assembled well before the start of hostilities, the era of the transfer coup seemed to have gone.

One of the more surprising developments in Super League in recent years has been the return of the mid-season signing. In the days of fixed-term contracts and squads assembled well before the start of hostilities, the era of the transfer coup seemed to have gone.

Not quite, it hasn't. For various reasons, quality players can suddenly become available in mid-campaign. Ben Roarty at Huddersfield and Ali Lauitiiti at Leeds had a positive effect on their clubs. Now Bradford hope that they have come up with another. Last season, Ben Harris was a member of the Canterbury Bulldogs' winning side in the Australian Grand Final. Now, at the tender age of 21, he has fallen prey to wanderlust and wants to pursue his career in Europe.

"I got married in December and my wife and I just wanted a new experience," he said. Harris's departure from the Bulldogs has been described as being on compassionate grounds, but that is rather overstating the case. His wife, Catarina, was born in Portugal and wants to live in Eur-ope, but her parents are happily settled in Australia and, far from being closer to them, she will be 12,000 miles further away.

That is all Bradford's good fortune. The news that a high-quality centre, still some way short of his prime, was looking for a British club would have been enough to alert them under any circumstances; with Shontayne Hape and Paul Johnson both out with long-term injuries, Harris comes as manna from heaven. He will make his debut at home to Warrington this afternoon and the Bulls hope that he will be the key to unlocking the full, destructive potential of Lesley Vainikolo.

"I just hope I can get out there and give the team a bit of a boost," said Harris, who regards himself as fully recovered from a shoulder reconstruction he needed after the Grand Final. His debut comes in a game for which his side could need a boost. Although the Bulls have found their form recently, so have Warrington.

The Wolves hope to have Lee Briers back from injury. Winning without him last week was a mark of how far they have come, and Harris will find that they have one of the best centres in the world in Martin Gleeson.

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