Johnson's long wait for Bradford chance is not in vain

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The Independent Online

Bradford have promoted a part-time player who has been waiting six years for his first-team debut to their senior squad for next year.

Richard Johnson, a 22-year-old centre from Oldham who captained the Bulls' Academy side last season, has been given the squad number of 27 and told that he has a chance of establishing himself in Super League next season.

"Due to his work commitments [as a joiner], Richard is unable to become a full-time professional, but he is very much in our plans for next season and will be challenging for a place in the side," said the Bradford coach, Steve McNamara.

The Wakefield coach, John Kear, has tipped Danny Sculthorpe to make a big impact next season after a slow start to his Wildcats career. The 28-year-old younger brother of St Helens' Paul Sculthorpe made just 10 substitute appearances last season because of recurring injury problems.

But Kear says Sculthorpe has lost weight over the close season and showed the benefits in an outstanding display in Wakefield's 26-18 win at Leeds in their Boxing Day friendly. "Anyone who looked at his body shape will see that he has done a lot of hard work," Kear said.

Australia's National Rugby League has reduced the number of replacements allowed in a match from 12 to 10.

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