Rugby League - Purtell pleased to be back

Adrian Purtell was relieved to get his comeback match out of the way after helping Bradford extend their unbeaten run to three games with a 34-12 victory over Hull KR.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Purtell pleased to be back
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Adrian Purtell made his Bradford comeback midway through the first half against Hull KR

Purtell had not played since suffering a heart attack in the aftermath of the Magic Weekend defeat against Leeds last May, but having been given the all-clear by specialists during the week, he came off the substitutes' bench to rapturous applause midway through the first half.

The 28-year old Australian played the final 55 minutes and later reflected on his long road to recovery. He said: "There were times at the start when it felt like I might never get back but I've always had this goal to get back playing. I'm now glad we've got this game out of the way so we can focus on Bradford as a team, as we are playing really well at the moment."

He added: "We can now put my misfortune 10 months ago behind us.

"I felt fine - the coaching staff have got me in really good shape - although the contact I've only been doing this week so that was a bit out."

Bulls coach Francis Cummins was delighted by his injury-stretched side's six-try display and also commended the performance of academy international John Bateman who was also playing his first Super League game after seven months out for a shoulder reconstruction.

"There were times when we really needed John today as he played all kinds of roles for us," Cummins said. "He played right back row, left back row and a bit of left centre.

"John's been Bradford almost since he was born and epitomised the desire to go that extra yard for Bradford Bulls and there were plenty of them."

The visitors' coach Craig Sandercock admitted that perhaps he made a wrong call in fielding some players with knocks, saying: "It's possibly my fault as we had three players who were ill and didn't train during the week, and some who were a bit busted and I made a decision to play them and they weren't at their best.

"I need to take the blame for playing those boys and you saw our performance in the first half just wasn't good enough. We gave away too many penalties and made too many errors and Bradford are a good side."

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