John Kear has his sights set on another coaching stint in Super League – by leading fallen giants Bradford Bulls back to the top flight.
The veteran coach – who turns 67 during a World Cup where he leads Wales – has taken charge of five clubs in the top division during his storied career.
Kear also masterminded Challenge Cup final shocks with Sheffield Eagles and Hull – but says steering the Bulls back into Super League for the first time since their 2014 relegation would rank alongside anything.
He said: “I read that John Kear might fancy one more go at Super League – well he does. The challenge inspires me. It doesn’t matter how old you are – I watched Roy Hodgson the other night and and when you’re competitive and you’re challenged, it keeps the juices flowing.
“I believe that Bradford belong in Super League and they’d bring loads to Super League. I see it as my rugby league justice to attempt to get them back there.
“It’s a heck of a challenge and anybody involved in the Championship has to accept that it’s a marvellous competition. There’s a real depth and I think you could make a really good case for nine or possibly 10 teams that will really fancy that top six.
“But I do fancy another go at Super League, and this is the most feasible way of me getting in there. If I did that it would be up there with anything – although if you did get them back there, you’d then want to stop until they won something. There’s always something to excite and challenge you.”
Kear has linked up for a third time with experienced scrum-half Danny Brough, who he says has been brought to Bradford “to get us into a Grand Final”.
The pair worked together to great effect at Hull FC and Wakefield, but the Bulls are still seen as long-shots for promotion by the bookmakers, who have Toulouse and Featherstone as front runners when the league season kicks off at Easter.
Before then Kear has another Challenge Cup campaign to focus on, and a hope for the sport as a whole to come together again following the Super League clubs’ unsuccessful breakaway of 2018.
He added: “You don’t have turkeys voting for Christmas. The self interests of the clubs – which you’re bound to get – should be taken away from them by an independent body that has an holistic view of where they want the game to go to the next five or 10 years.
“The RFL should take the lead and we should have independent governance with a clear direction. It may ruffle some feathers, but if that’s the case, so be it.”