Matt Orford has rubbished rumours of a return to Australia, insisting: I’m here for the long haul.
Reports in the Sydney media had suggested the 32-year-old scrum half was homesick and seeking an early release from the three-year deal he signed in November to pursue options in the NRL.
The claims coincided with the player’s agent, George Mimis, making a scheduled trip to the UK, which further fueled speculation Orford was seeking crisis talks with his club.
But the former Manly skipper was quick to dismiss any question marks over his commitment to Bradford and insists he is enjoying life in Super League.
“They’re complete rumours,” he told the T&A. “My manager’s not making a special trip for me, he’s doing his UK trip for his Aussie players based over here. That’s the Sydney media for you.
“I’m still here for another couple of years and I’m still enjoying it.
They’re complete rumours. I’m still here for another couple of years and I’m still enjoying itMatt Orford
“I’ve been out for the last couple of weeks and it’s never nice watching your team play, it’s pretty hard, but once you get back playing and into the routine of things, you’re fine.”
Sunday’s heartbreaking Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat to Warrington was Orford’s first game in a month, after he battled against the odds to declare himself fit despite ongoing shoulder problems.
Visibly deflated in the aftermath, the Aussie veteran struggled to find words to describe his disappointment but insists the Bulls’ belief has not been shaken.
He said: “I thought there was so much effort from our blokes but we were probably just a whisker off and didn’t get the result we were after.
“To come that close to a final is pretty disappointing but the competition goes on.
“We’ve never doubted our ability as a team. The upset of injuries and all the rest of the stuff that’s happened during the week, the boys have done great to come together and put in a performance like they did.”
Despite ultimately coming up short, Orford believes Bradford’s performance in adversity against the Challenge Cup holders bodes well for their chances of making a strong play-off charge.
“We’ve got a lot of self-belief that we can do something in these competitions,” he said.
“We just need to prove it now, go on with the Super League and try and stay in this finals campaign. That’s our main focus now.
“I said from the start that this comp’s going to be very tight. It’s there to be taken and we’re very positive.”