BRADFORD Bulls coach Steve McNamara is promising his side will be more than ready to face the threat of the Giants in Friday’s big Super League XV opener at the Galpharm Stadium.
McNamara’s men begin their 2010 campaign with a new half-back partnership in main signing Matt Orford and Brett Kearney, while they also have a new hooker in fellow Australian Heath L’Estrange.
That means the Bulls could struggle to make an early impact as they bid to improve dramatically on last season’s bitterly disappointing ninth-placed finish.
But after Thursday’s 18-16 pre-season triumph at top-flight rivals Hull KR in which Orford had a hand in all three of his side’s tries, McNamara is relishing this week’s trip to his former club.
“It’s going to be a good match, and we can’t wait,” said McNamara, who was at The Jungle last Tuesday to see the Giants cruise to an eye-catching 28-10 triumph over Castleford Tigers’ full-strength Super League side.
“We know it’s going to be tough, every game in Super League always is, but we feel we’re ready to play.
“We may have a new half-back combination and recruited several other players in other key positions.
“But they’re all very smart and very good players.
“They’ve trained well throughout pre-season and will have benefited significantly from playing in last week’s pre-season game.
“Like every team in the competition, we want to get off to a flying start and we know we’ll be ready to play come Friday night.”
McNamara does, of course, have good memories of his last visit to the Galpharm when the Bulls beat the Giants 28-18 in mid August.
But the former Huddersfield captain doesn’t believe that result will count for anything in the two clubs’ first competitive 2010 fixture.
“That means nothing at all,” he argued.
“It’s a new season and a new game between two teams who have made key changes in player personnel in the hope of being even stronger.
“We believe that’s the case with us, and I think it could also be the case with the Giants.
“To be honest, I haven’t researched Huddersfield too much, because the pre-season is obviously focused on us and making sure we prepare as well as we possibly can.
“But it’s hard to ignore them and the way they’ve been progressing.
“They were great last season with their performances as they showed by reaching the Challenge Cup final and finishing third in Super League.
“And with the signings they’ve made, I’m sure they will be strong again this year. We know we’re going to have to be at our best.”