BRADFORD BULLS’ Betfred League 1 side will, after they have played Coventry Bears at Odsal on Sunday (15 April) form a guard of honour for the club’s Women’s team.
The League 1 clash is being played as a curtain-raiser to the Women’s Super League game between the Bulls and Leeds Rhinos, with the men kicking off at 2.00pm and the all-conquering women, who secured the `double’ last season, opening the 2018 campaign at 3.45pm.
Bradford believe that their decision to treat the men’s match as a curtain-raiser to the women’s wrangle is a `world-first’ and are proud of their ladies’ side’s recent record, the Challenge Cup holders and reigning Super League champions having been hailed as the Team of the Year at the recent Bradford Sports Awards 2018, ahead of such as Bradford City AFC.
A Bulls spokesman said: “Whilst other sports and competition organisers have stalled when it comes to prioritising women’s participation, fixture scheduling, and venue allocation, based on performance and merit, Bradford Bulls Chairman Andrew Chalmers said it was a simple decision to give the Women’s team headline status for the fixture at the famous Odsal Stadium.”
Chalmers insisted: “It’s the Super League season opener for the Bulls Women against Leeds Rhinos, two of Rugby League’s biggest brands.
“Our women, as defending Champions and Challenge Cup holders, are Bradford’s leading sporting team.
“Gender doesn’t come into it. We’ll be fielding a number of international and locally-developed players, and it’s only fitting that they are allocated the feature game.
“The entire club and fan base will be behind the women as they seek to get off to a winning start against our traditional rivals.”
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington was equally supportive and excited about the prospect of two fierce rivals meeting again.
“It’s so good to be resurrecting the old Bulls v Rhinos rivalry at Odsal, and I expect it to be a fiercely contested affair. I am looking forward to attending and being part of this feature Women’s RL Super League game, which in years to come will take its place in the history of Rugby League.”
Hundreds of local women’s Rugby League players, of all ages, will be guests for the historic fixture and will enjoy a lap of honour.
The spokesman added: “Sponsorship and naming rights opportunities are available and it is hoped like-minded companies who appreciate Bradford Bulls’ approach of `actions not words’ in demonstrating equality in the sport will get involved with the club as it launches its bid to retain both titles and consolidate Bradford Bulls Women’s status as the leading Rugby League team in the world.”