Bradford Bulls boss reveals star Super League signing has been battling an illness

Bradford Bulls boss Mark Dunning has said that he will happily wrap star signing and new club captain Michael Lawrence in “cotton wool.”

The prop joins the club from the Huddersfield Giants as a legend of the club but is ready to forge a new path at Odsal.

However, Dunning has revealed that Lawrence’s debut may not come against the Leeds Rhinos on Sunday after he has recently battled with illness.

Dunning revealed that he will not risk anyone against the Rhinos come Sunday with the season opener against Whitehaven right round the corner.

He said: “We’re not going to risk anybody. Dec Patton will play this weekend, Michael Lawrence I’m not sure yet. He’s had an illness, it’s nothing to worry about. He’s got to tick some boxes for him to be selected like anybody. Although he is our club captain he, the same applies to him. He has to do things on the training field for us to select him.

“I’m certainly not going to risk him if he’s not 100% because that’s when you start to pick up some niggly injuries. If I have to wrap Michael Lawrence up in cotton wool, then I will.

“He’s missed a couple of weeks of training that’s all. He’s had an illness and missed a couple of weeks of training.”

Dunning did confirm that former Leeds Rhinos man and 2022 Grand Finalist Bodene Thompson would feature against his former club: “Bodene Thompson, barring anything happening, will feature at the weekend.”

The Bulls boss also revealed that he will likely run with a squad of 21 despite originally planning to go with around 19 players at Headingley:

“My plan was 25, 21 and 19, but losing the Huddersfield game we might be around 21. The plan was originally get to a 19 man squad ahead of the Whitehaven game and then obviously go to a 17 man squad but we might go to a 21 man squad.”

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