Departing Bradford Bulls star Elima aims to upset new French employers (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Departing Bradford Bulls star Olivier Elima aims to upset new French employers
Olivier Elima is aiming to bow out of Bradford on a glorious high this weekend as the Bulls go in search of victory against his future employers.
The France skipper yesterday confirmed he is to return to Catalan Dragons on a two-year deal.
Elima is out of contract at the end of the season and will rejoin the club he played for between 2008 and 2010.
But first he will aim to help Mick Potter’s men to a victory that could yet see them claim the final play-off spot at the expense of Wakefield.
Explaining his move back to Perpignan, Elima said: “It has been a great honour to represent this great club that is Bradford Bulls for the past two years.
“I would like to say thanks to all the players, staff and supporters who have been in and around the club in those two years.
“But I’ve been at Catalan before, I know the players and I’m obviously the France captain. It’s just an easy link for me to go back there with my family.”
The Dragons have made huge strides under rookie coach Trent Robinson and are rated as dark horses to reach this year’s Grand Final.
Elima admitted the lure of playing under Robinson played a part in his switch.
“I’ve not played under Trent Robinson but from what I’ve heard he has brought a new way of training to the club,” said the second-rower.
“It’s short and sharp and based on players’ welfare and well-being, with a lot of dynamic stuff.
“With the modern game, I think it’s the right approach and I’m looking forward to playing under him.
“All the French players have been talking really positively about Trent Robinson and I can’t wait.
“I’ve spoken to him myself and he seems like someone you want to be coached by.”
Elima has enjoyed a fine campaign at Odsal but is hoping for a fairytale finish.
Victory in the south of France tomorrow, coupled with Salford beating Wakefield, would see the Bulls make the play-offs for the first time in four years.
“It’s out of our hands but whatever happens, we’re happy with how we’ve performed this season,” said 29-year-old Elima.
“The first few weeks were a bit shaky but after that you could tell that something was happening at Bradford.
“The likes of Manase Manuokafoa, Keith Lulia and Luke Gale have done a great job for us and Ben Jeffries too has had a great season.
“Something special has happened this year but if it hadn’t been for the off-field stuff we would be in the play-offs already with the amount of games we won.
“This is probably the best season we’ve had in years and we could still get in the play-offs.”