BULLS have pulled off a real coup with the capture of Elliot Kear from Salford until the end of 2022, but don’t expect to see him in action just yet.
Kear is training to become a firefighter, meaning he wants to go part-time with his rugby league, which Bulls can offer him, but that means he is not allowed to play or train with the club until that is all done.
Speaking to the T&A, his new head coach, John Kear, explained: “It’s a big signing for us, an exciting one, but really it is a signing for next year, and for the back end of this season.
“He’s got to do his firefighter training from June and it’s an extensive three-month process.
“He’s one of the few who has been offered a position, and it’s a local one as he lives near Bradford, but he’s not allowed to do any other physical activity during his training, as they can’t have him getting injured.”
The younger Kear previously had three years in Super League with Bulls between 2012 and 2014, and has spent much of the past decade in top flight.
So his delighted new head coach beamed: “Circumstances have played a big part, and Salford didn’t want him to leave, as he’s a Super League standard player.
“But he’s 32 now and he’s starting to think about that transition between being a full-time rugby league player to a normal person if you like, and this move allows him to play part-time.
“As I said, I feel he’s a Super League standard player and he joins a team that is on a quest to get up there.
“The first thing I’d say about him is that he’s got great leadership skills, that’s why he’s my captain with Wales.
“He leads by example with what he says and does on the field, but he also shows exemplary conduct off the field.
“He’ll be a key part of that leadership group we’ve got here at the club too.”
Kear added: “Elliot’s very versatile and he offers competition and cover in a number of positions.
“He can play anywhere from full back, to centre, to on the wing, and he does all of those equally well.”
Bulls are not playing now until next weekend, with their scheduled game against Newcastle on Monday pushed back until June 6.
Asked if that was ideal to sort any fitness issues out after the below-par end to the Swinton game last weekend, Kear said: “I know the reasons why our second halves haven’t been as good, and I only said it might be fitness-related.
“I’ve shared whatever the problem is with my players and staff now, and I’m sure it’ll be addressed.
“We’d just won four in a row, so we’d have preferred to continue playing, but we accept the circumstances.
“We’ll look to use them to our advantage and I’m certain we can put in a good performance against London next weekend.”
The Toulouse situation is a concerning one, with quarantine rules causing their home games to be moved or postponed left, right and centre.
Bulls are due to play them in France next month, but that now looks unlikely.
Kear said: “All we can do for Toulouse is listen to the government guidelines and play where and when they want us to.
“But for now the focus is totally on London next weekend.”
Kear also confirmed that Levy Nzoungou is having a knee operation this weekend, and that the prop is set for months on the sidelines.