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Jarrod Sammut desperate to avoid repeat of Crusaders woe with Bradford Bulls
Jarrod Sammut is refusing to believe that the Bulls will follow the fate of his previous club Crusaders by withdrawing from Super League in the wake of their slide into administration.
Mick Potter’s men head to Wigan tonight fearing that it could be the club’s last-ever top-flight game.
Liquidation beckons Bradford unless administrator Brendan Guilfoyle can find a buyer for the crisis-torn club within the next week.
The Bulls have 17 players out of contract at the end of the year and they will be allowed to speak to rival clubs from July 5, as opposed to the normal September 1 deadline, as they bid to secure deals elsewhere.
Potter and his squad met with RFL officials yesterday afternoon and it is understood that the game’s governing body will seek to assist in paying players’ wages, as they did following Crusaders’ meltdown.
Sammut and Elliot Kear were part of the Wrexham-based outfit’s demise following their move into administration in November 2010.
We’re just hoping that someone steps in to keep the club alive and to keep us all togetherJarrod Sammut
That was the catalyst for the end of the club at Super League level and Sammut said: “It’s a bad position for anyone to be involved in and unfortunately Elliot Kear and myself have had it twice now.
“It’s a huge situation to try and comprehend. Everyone is dealing with it in their own way and there are some very difficult times ahead for everybody.
“On Tuesday we found out the harsh truth was that the club will go into liquidation unless someone steps in within the next ten days.
“For the sake of rugby league, we need Bradford to survive. Our livelihoods are at stake and Bradford is obviously a huge brand in the rugby league family.
“The history of the club speaks for itself and to imagine rugby league without Bradford; you wouldn’t even think about it.
“When we were told on Tuesday that the club had entered administration, it wasn’t a nice environment to be around. The boys are taking it very hard, as is to be expected.”
Australian Sammut revealed the depth of feeling among the Bulls squad after administration was confirmed – a fate he says the players were initially led to believe was avoidable by the club’s hierarchy during the Quest for Survival campaign.
Bulls fans and the wider rugby league community helped to raise £500,000 before the club’s financial woes apparently became insurmountable.
Sammut, 25, said: “The fans and people who have donated to the pledge did so out of their hard-earned cash to keep Bradford Bulls alive.
“We were led to believe that if we reached that £500,000 mark that things were looking positive.
“After that, the news that we kept getting pretty much was the same – that the club would be all right and we won’t enter administration.
“That was never concrete but they always sounded confident. Now it has come to this and the guys just feel let down.”
Asked if he felt the squad had been misled over the club’s parlous financial state, Sammut answered: “That’s the way we’ve seen it.
“We were told that the mark was £500,000 and that we’d progress from there.
“We’ve reached that through the generosity of fans and the good will of the rugby league community.
“Now to be told that the debt is worse than it seemed, we’re now thinking ‘what else have we been told that isn’t the case?’ “I guess the one positive to come out of this is that we have grown closer together as a group and as a family.
“Everyone has been there for one another and I think that’s been the case throughout rugby league. That’s why it’s the greatest game.”
The Bulls will be docked points for entering administration and the standard six-point penalty (three wins) means their play-off hopes are effectively over.
“It’s tense times at the moment and we’re all sticking together and helping one another out,” said Sammut.
“We’re just hoping that someone steps in to keep the club alive and to keep us all together.”