Feature: The five most sought-after Bulls players
If they fail to defeat Huddersfield on Sunday, Bradford Bulls will officially be relegated from Super League.
The Odsal outfit currently sit second bottom in the table, a full 13 points adrift of Salford Red Devils and Hull FC with just seven games remaining.
Although it is mathematically possible for the Bulls to stay afloat, they are almost certain to join the Broncos in the Championship next year.
Soon after the Broncos’ fate was sealed against Warrington on Sunday, talk tuned to what their big-name players would do and, almost immediately, exciting prospect Denny Solomona was snapped up by Castleford.
The question now is: what will happen to Bradford’s best players?
Clearly some are too good for Championship football, so we have highlighted five names we think will attract interest from top-tier clubs.
2014 stats: Appearances 19; Tries 5; Assists 10; Goals 24; Field-goals 2
Where will he end up? Castleford and Leeds seem to be the strongest bets on paper. The Tigers have lost talismanic half Marc Sneyd for 2015 and would surely welcome Gale’s Super League experience, while the Rhinos’ three main playmakers have an average age of nearly 32. Additionally, Gale is from Leeds and would surely relish the chance to play for his hometown club. St Helens could also be interested in investing in a young English playmaker.
2014 stats: Appearances 14; Tries 4; Assists 3; Metres 1,355; Tackle Busts 27
Where will he end up? The Australian has not ruled out staying with the Bulls when they go down, but he is arguably the club’s biggest talent and will surely be a target for several Super League rivals. Huddersfield Giants could have an eye on him to give Scott Grix competition at the back, while Wakefield may also be interested given Richard Mathers’ inconsistency in 2014. It’s hard to rule out a return to the NRL, too.
2014 stats: Appearances 20; Tries 10; Assists 3; Metres 1,499; Tackle Busts 18
Where will he end up? The Bulls’ top try scorer this year could fit in at most Super League club’s given his wide skill set and eye for a four-pointer, but if he is to leave Bradford, a return to home and the NRL has got to be the most likely outcome.
Position: Loose forward/half-back
2014 stats: Appearances 19; Tries 4; Assists 3; Attacking Kicks 24; Tackles 448
Where will he end up? There’s a chance Addy will stay with the Bulls given his young age, and it’s fair to say the Scotland international would learn a lot from the Championship. However, if push came to shove it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him at Hull Kingston Rovers, where Jamie Langley’s control over the 13 shirt looks to be coming to an end due to injury problems.
2014 stats: Appearances 15; Tries 1; Assists 11; Attacking Kicks 41; Metres 1,629
Where will he end up? The former St Helens star has been out of sorts in 2014 due to injury and being played out of position, but has showed his class recently and has made more assists than any other Bulls player. Chances are the clubs interested in Luke Gale could also have an eye on Gaskell, and a return to his hometown club Saints would not be surprising to see. Like Addy, though, he could learn a lot from dropping down into the second tier.
Who do you think will leave the Bulls? Vote in our poll and let us know!