AS soon as the Super League XIII fixtures were released, Chris Nero looked for one game ahead of all others.
That game was the one between Bradford Bulls and Huddersfield Giants.
And the former Galpharm favourite didn’t have to look too far down the list to see the fixture he was looking for.
It was the second game of the season at Odsal – and the powerful second-rower can’t wait!
The new Bradford player knows it’s going to be strange coming up against his old mates for the first time.
But he’s sure it will be a memorable occasion.
“It’s going to be a weird experience,” he acknowledged.
“I’ll be coming face to face with some of my best mates from over the past four years.
“And I know I can expect few favours from them.
“I’m sure they’ll be having a little dig at me if they get the opportunity. I wouldn’t expect anything else!
“But I already know that as soon as the final hooter sounds we’ll all be the best of mates again. It’s just those 80 minutes when everything changes.
“After all, we’re all professionals and we want to do whatever it takes to get a win for our team. That’s what we’re paid for.”
And Nero knows he and his new Bulls teammates will be in for a tough encounter.
Although the Giants have lost the experienced Nero, Brad Drew, Paul Reilly and Robbie Paul, the Huddersfield-based player believes that in new signings George Gatis, David Hodgson, Luke Robinson and Paul Whatuira, coach Jon Sharp’s squad are now stronger than ever.
“I know some of the Giants fans have said how much they will miss me, and I’m flattered by that,” he added.
“But I look at the Huddersfield squad now and see quality and top six written all over it.
“I certainly regard it as a massive compliment if Paul Whatuira is viewed as my replacement, because he’s a top-quality performer, having proved himself on the biggest of stages.
“And all the other signings are class, as well.
“I’m sure it won’t be too long before they start picking up the wins on a regular basis.
“The bulk of the squad have already experienced the play-offs, and will be better for it, with the new boys definitely giving them that little bit extra.
“If we’re not at our best on Saturday, then I know the Giants can beat us.”
That’s clearly the last thing Nero wants. But he does hope his prediction the Giants will make the play-offs again comes true.
“My No1 priority is obviously to get the Bulls in the top six,” he continued.
“But I would be even more delighted if the Giants are there with us.
“I loved my time at the club, I love living in the town (in the Hall Bower area), and seeing the club do well will always mean a lot to me.”