Rebuilt Doncaster show Bulls how to rise again

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SOUTH Yorkshire rugby league fans can look forward to the resumption of derby games between Sheffield and Doncaster next season.

The Dons have made sure of being one of four clubs promoted to the Championship.

It spares Doncaster the trauma of life in the revamped ‘SatNav’ Championship One, which will include new teams hidden in parts of the country that were thought by most of us to be motorway service areas.

Chief executive Carl Hall and coach Tony Miller, with the help of Ray Green and the rest of the backroom staff, have done a great job on and off the field to rebuild Doncaster.

Back in a torrid 2009 it looked as if the Dons were about to become a footnote in rugby league history before Hall’s rescue package. The financial legacy of previous owners had left a crisis, a nine-point deduction and relegation.

It is a very different operation down at the Keepmoat and they have earned their place in the Championship the hard way. Sheffield fans might do well to remember that in 2009 Doncaster won only one game all season – against the Eagles!

What has been done at Doncaster sends a message to lots of clubs - not least Bradford Bulls.

The other 13 clubs in the Super League are ready to provide the sticking plaster that will keep the Bulls alive to the end of the season. Super League Europe, the umbrella company for the game’s elite clubs, has made an offer to buy the Bulls, lifting the threat of liquidation.

The radical move prompts mixed feelings. Fans of smaller clubs will be quick to point out that no Super League white knight would ride to their rescue if they hit trouble.

If accepted, the offer would mean that Bradford - whose supporter trust say has debts of around £1.5 million - would be able to finish the season.

It would give SLE time to find a new long-term owner - hopefully one that puts the Bulls first and is not just keen on acquiring the Odsal stadium site for a song.

The new owners have to prove that their prime concern is rugby not property development.

Whoever takes over (maybe a supporter trust) it leaves the Rugby Football League with big decisions. Bradford may have a great heritage but they now stand for failure and mismanagement.

How was it that only months after being given a clean bill of health and a new Super League licence, the Bulls gave a good impression of a Greek bank?

If the true position had been known, would supporters have rushed to donate the £500,000 to ‘save’ the club, as they did in April?

No more Bull from the RFL.

The message should be clear that any new Bradford club must start again in the Championship.

A new Bradford has the fan base to rebuild and with it regain respect.

And if they want advice, I’m sure the people down at Donny would be happy to talk.