Coach Matthew Elliott has paid tribute to the 12,000 Bradford Bulls fans who braved driving rain to keep the club on top of the attendance charts on the opening weekend of the Super League campaign.

The Bulls were 3,000 up on their nearest rivals Wigan and attracted twice as many as Gateshead, Halifax and Salford as they got off to a winning 18-6 start against Sheffield Eagles.

"It was a tremendous effort by the fans in those conditions and I want them to know how much they are appreciated," said Elliott.

"The players even commented at half-time about the size of the crowd and how they didn't want to let them down.

"It makes such a big difference to the players when the fans are prepared to turn out in such numbers on a day like that and heightens their determination to reward them."

Meanwhile Elliott will make further checks this week on young scrum-half Paul Deacon, who missed the clash against the Eagles with ankle trouble, as he prepares for Sunday's Challenge Cup quarter-final showdown with Warrington.

"Paul was running again at training yesterday but we will just have to see how he progresses during the rest of the week.

"I thought Robbie and Henry Paul gave us lots of direction against Sheffield but if Paul Deacon is fit it will be difficult to leave him out.

"The way he is kicking goals could be a big advantage in what promises to be a very close cup tie but I thought Henry did well as deputy on Sunday. The two he missed were both from the touchline and he still went pretty close.

"He is actually a much better kicker in a match situation. In training he does not have the same success rate but he is such a great competitor that a game brings out the best in his goalkicking."

The Bulls are anticipating another big turn-out and are advising fans who want a place in the main stand to purchase them in advance from Odsal.

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