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On-field displays have cheered up injured Matt Diskin
You would think that the Bulls’ six-point penalty for entering administration might be seen as harsh by the players who have spilt blood for the cause this season.
But, asked to sum up his feelings on the punishment, Matt Diskin takes a surprisingly contrary view.
“I’m of the opinion that you should get a bigger punishment if a club hasn’t been run properly,” said the business-savvy hooker, who earlier this year set up a residential letting agency covering North Leeds and Leeds city centre.
“If a team hasn’t been run properly and goes into administration, I believe it should take a hefty punishment.
“We were expecting to lose six points and it’s fair enough in my eyes.”
That's as honest an appraisal of the Bulls’ financial meltdown as you will find.
Now, as the Bulls enter the final straight of a marathon campaign, Diskin is hoping to return to play his part.
The club’s joint captain, 30, has been sidelined since he dislocated a shoulder during the Magic Weekend defeat to Leeds, when he was one of five players added to the casualty list.
It pretty much summed up the rotten luck this term of the Bulls and Diskin, who suffered a shoulder injury which prematurely ended his debut campaign at Odsal last year.
Diskin said: “Training is going well and I’m back into a little bit of the field sessions with the boys, though not quite in full contact.
“I’m just taking it nice and steady and will hopefully be back before the end of the year.
“There have been some freakish injuries, not just during that game but throughout the whole season.
“Yet despite the injuries, I’ve enjoyed every minute of my rugby since I came to Bradford.”
Despite being sidelined since the end of May, Diskin has been influential in liaising between the club’s hierarchy, players' union chief Ernie Benbow and administrator Brendan Guilfoyle at a time of crisis.
Diskin said: “In the early days, we tried to establish the facts rather than the rumour and hearsay that we were having to base our opinions on.
“I tried to involve myself in that but at the moment it seems to be a closed loop and the players find out everything in the press like everybody else.
“It’s frustrating, but as players we can’t influence anything other than the performances on the pitch, and that’s what we’ll continue to try and do.”
As a frustrated spectator for the last couple of months, Diskin has nothing but praise for his team-mates, who have ground out several notable successes to keep the club in play-off contention.
He said: “You can see that the boys care about each other and the club.
“That has been reflected with the performances on the field.
“To sit on the sidelines and watch it has been frustrating from my point of view, but I’m very proud to see how the team has handled it and for the support that we have had from everybody connected to the club.
“Bradford is a big club, and I believe it’s too big not to be in Super League, but the decision doesn’t rest with us.
“It rests with the RFL and any consortium coming in. Hopefully they see sense about the Bradford Bulls as a strong brand to keep in the competition.”
Victory against Widnes on Sunday would be the perfect way to set up next Friday’s crunch visit of Hull KR, currently four points ahead of the Bulls.
“To achieve a play-off place has been our goal from day one,” added Diskin.
“We always knew there were going to be hurdles and obstacles to overcome along the way.
“It just turns out there are some quite severe ones.
“We’ve strived to overcome them, and hopefully in a few weeks’ time we will be talking about how delighted we are to have made the eight.
“As a team we certainly won’t give up on the play-offs at any point.”