THE Million Pound Game is upon us once more, for the final time, when Toronto enjoy home advantage against the David Hughes owned London Broncos outfit.

The concept has had controversial reviews but undeniably has delivered bucket loads of pure drama.

The critics claim it is car crash TV, painful to watch and invariably of poor quality given the stakes at risk. Its supporters claim that it is wonderful pure sporting drama, elation and despair.

Unquestionably, promotion is settled on the field of play where it should be.

The Million Pound Game is, or at least was, an indispensable element of the Middle 8s structure, a winner takes all shoot-out. Like the agony and ecstasy of soccer’s play-offs – a suitable climax to a year of struggle and aspiration.

Of course the Bulls were involved in the inaugural Million Pound Game and I am told by many that the tension was unbearable at Belle Vue when we lost by a solitary goal kick. It must a have been a great disappointment for all concerned at the time.

The following year was the stuff of fantasies with Salford Red Devils eight points adrift with under two minutes on the clock. With two late tries scored – one after the hooter – two missed conversions, golden point extra-time, and a 50-metre drop goal courtesy of full back hero Gareth O’Brien, cue pandemonium.

The crowd invasions at Craven Park, with chairman Dr Marwan Koukash in the middle of it all waving a giant cheque for a million pounds signed by RFL power broker 'Big Nigel', and stunned disbelief by the majority of fans. The images are all available on YouTube and plenty of other digital history archives.

The contest, or at least the final five minutes, have gone down as one of the great endings of the modern sporting era and I understand delivered the second highest viewing figures. But hey we're not bothered about them are we…oops! Not often does a rugby league game lead the Twitter trend wave.

Of course last year the Catalans Dragons got past Leigh Centurions with coaches, players and the like condemning the concept.

It was often trotted out that livelihoods were at stake, seemingly ignoring the fact that livelihoods are going to be jeopardised if you accept promotion and relegation. Are Widnes livelihoods not at stake with no involvement in the Middle Pound Game?

A lot of this is errant nonsense anyway. Players invariably get picked or have already gone elsewhere. The protestations that players are suddenly on the scrap heap because of one game is total and utter rubbish. Players and their agents rarely come second best whatever is happening in sport.

Back office staff and supporters usually pay a heavier price. When Graham Lowe and I established the Bradford Bulls in 2017, most of the former players had long since gone – many to better contracts with other clubs. It didn’t stop all those players coming back after us for money owed by the previous company courtesy of TUPE for double bubble! So please don’t ask me to get the violin out.

This year the Million Pound Game cuts new ground again. It will be the first time it is contested by two Championship clubs.

Toronto will be red hot favourites with the bookies given the perception of home advantage. But is the home advantage as strong as all that? Both Toronto and London played in the UK last weekend and will need to travel across to Canada.

Toronto won the earlier clashes this year but I have a sneaking feeling London may come up trumps this time. Don’t expect there to be much in it. And whoever wins will have earned it.

Toronto have shown their staying power to get this far while London were one of the two clubs dumped out of Super League when it chose to go to 12 clubs. It's a disgrace that they haven’t reverted to 14 clubs now that they have reneged on the 12 and 8s system. Good luck to both teams tomorrow.

Of course the Million Pound Game will be no more after the weekend, to be replaced by a Championship Grand Final between only Championship clubs.

Does anyone truly think the heartache will be lessened by this? Not for the defeated team it won’t.

This revised process – all part of the price to pay for protecting poorly run Super League clubs – could of course mean that the runaway league leaders of Championship might not actually be promoted if the bounce of the ball, a pivotal injury or a dodgy refereeing decision occurs. How fair would that be?

That is why I argued for automatic promotion for the Championship winners and then a second promotion place based upon a smaller group of three Championship clubs and the 11th placed Super League club.

We could have had the best of both worlds but regrettably as has become the norm, vested self-interest gets in the way. As for the Bulls we will plough through whatever structure we get presented with.

Our opponents Workington have beaten us twice this year, so it is no fluke we find ourselves in the Play-Off Grand Final tomorrow afternoon at Odsal Stadium (3pm).

Now is the time for us to put that right – we owe it to ourselves and our fans.

Leon Pryce has done a fantastic job in his first year coaching in Cumbria, and I’m sure he will have a long and fruitful coaching career. Selfishly, we will be doing our utmost to frustrate that ambition for this weekend at least.

That makes this game a very big challenge for all of us. It will be a tough, physical confrontation with everything on the line.

Hopefully, one final call to Bulls fans far and wide to come, cheer, and scream from the terraces. Support John Kear and your Bulls team as the boys go hard out to win the League One Play-Off Grand Final.

Victory is rewarded with promotion to the Championship in 2019 and a shot at automatic Super League promotion for 2020.

Come On You Bulls! #COYB