Bradford Bulls were relegated to the Championship on Sunday after a 52-26 defeat to Huddersfield Giants. The Bulls’ seventh straight defeat condemned them to relegation from Super League for the first time in their history and their fate is already secured with six games of the season remaining. Two tries apiece from Luke George and Brett Kearney and one from Adam O’Brien ensured that Bradford were firmly on the scoreboard, however a hat-trick from Jermaine McGillvary, two tries from Ukuma Ta’ai and one apiece from Jake Connor, Luke Robinson, Chris Bailey, Brett Ferres and Joe Wardle left the result in no doubt.
Relegation represents the latest blow to the West Yorkshire side after a terrible few years which has seen the former heavyweights of rugby league suffer with calamitous financial issues. The four-time Super League champions were deducted six points earlier this season for entering administration for the second time in two years and their latest defeat leaves them with just two points, ahead of only London Broncos who have lost every game this season. The two sides become the first victims of new rules introduced by the league at the start of the season.
So what next for the Bradford Bulls? Coach James Lowes enjoyed great success at Odsal as a player, the highlight arguably the 2003 league and cup double. However, times have certainly changed and relegation was already almost guaranteed when Lowes returned to the club in June. Chairman Marc Green has supposedly stabilised the club financially and Lowes has emphasised that securing a balance of established players with talent emerging from the famous Bradford Bulls academy should ensure that the Bulls mount a strong challenge in a tough Championship next term.
While the Bulls’ relegation has been coming for a while and regardless of whatever club you might support, it is sad to see one of the game’s biggest names leave Super League. Let’s hope the Bulls finish the season strongly and are able to bounce back at the first time of asking next year.
Featured image: Bradford Telegraph and Argus