Smith says Championship Shield is “exciting next phase” for Bulls

Bradford Bulls coach Rohan Smith believes their upcoming challenge of the Championship Shield is an “exciting next phase” for his group of players.

After another turbulent week off the field, the Bulls head to Cumbria looking to strengthen their position at the top of the Championship Shield standings in the opening weekend of the competition.

And on the challenge of the Championship Shield, Bradford Bulls coach Rohan Smith said: “I think it’s a new opportunity to move forward and start looking towards the future. It’s an exciting next phase and about giving some younger players some opportunity and also giving some of the younger guys who have been playing, a bigger role in the team.

Looking ahead to the opener at Whitehaven he said: “Those trips to Cumbria are always tough. The way we’ll look at it is a chance to spend some time together and enjoy the bus trip. We’ll enjoy the experience and look forward to playing every opposition we play in the next seven or eight weeks.”

Prop Mitch Clark and stand-off Lee Gaskell could be available.

The break has been a big help to Whitehaven according to coach James Coyle, who said: “We’ve come back a lot better than we were before the break,” he said. “We’re not perfect yet by any stretch of the imagination but we’ve got a lot more bodies available and people ready to play so we shouldn’t be in the situation we were in for the last game of the regular season.

“There’s a lot of speculation around Bradford at the minute and sometimes it does affect what happens on the field but other times it can be a positive thing and bring the squad together and make them a little bit tighter. We’ve got to be ready to play, we got to make sure that we perform a lot better than we did the last time we played Bradford.”