ROWAN Milnes admits it's hard to come to terms with the whirlwind start to his Bradford Bulls season.

The 18-year-old former St Bede's pupil only signed an Academy contract last December and wasn't handed a shirt number when the initial 24 names were announced for the Bulls first team.

However, he has already featured in pre-season friendlies against Halifax, Sheffield Eagles and Dewsbury Rams, made league appearances against London Skolars and Newcastle Thunder and been called into the England Academy national performance squad alongside clubmate Oliver Wilson.

"It's been mad. It has all happened really fast," said half-back Milnes of the past seven months.

"You don't know if you are coming or going at times with the first team, reserve games and under-19 games but hopefully I can bring some of that first-team experience into the other matches."

The ultimate aim for Milnes and Wilson with the national Academy squad is to be selected for the four Test matches in the autumn, starting at Odsal against France on Wednesday, October 17.

However, there are 25 other squad members with the same ambition, and forward Wilson admitted after the group's first training session at Odsal: "There is a good quality of players here."

Wilson, a 6ft 3in forward who impressed for the Bulls in bitterly cold conditions in the Paul Sykes Testimonial match at Dewsbury earlier this year, said of his Academy call-up: "I was really pleased as my hard work has paid off.

"I am just trying to work as hard as I can in training and games this season and am pleased with how everything is going so far."

Wilson also benefited from the advice of former Bulls pack members Paul Anderson (England Academy head coach) and Jamie Langley (assistant coach) at the Odsal session.