THE BULLS have been working with like-minded Championship and League One clubs to introduce a Yorkshire Cup in the pre-season build up.

One of the benefits, in fact the only benefit, of the power grab by Super League clubs through the summer, is that it got the Championship and League clubs communicating more effectively and working together like never before.

Not every club by the way - there were a number of clubs running with the hares and hunting with the hounds - but there are enough like-minded clubs to get the concept away in January 2019.

The pre-season is always a bit of a mess. Uncoordinated matches with no structure, usually clubs playing others to settle transfer fees or as part of “dual registration partnerships”.

I and a number of other chairmen think there would be more mileage in a Yorkshire Cup trophy. I am pretty sure playing for something is always preferable to not.

It won’t change the world but a little eight-team knockout tournament over three weekends will set the participating Championship and League One clubs up very nicely. All the details will be announced shortly.

And what a competition the Championship looks like being. The two overseas clubs Toronto and Toulouse will be predictably strong, as I feel will Halifax, York and Featherstone.

Everyone is waiting to see what emerges out of the fall-out at Leigh Centurions, and of course the newly-relegated Widnes Vikings, with the benefit of a huge parachute payment, will be among the favourites.

The parachute payment is another of the gross outrages inflicted upon our competition at the hands of the Super League.

At a stroke they have thrown our competition into a real imbalance, and for what? To give their former member the best possible chance of returning at the first attempt. Not really a competitive spirit.

I’ll leave the politics of sports to one side and concentrate on positioning the Bulls to challenge for a place at the top table.

We will do everything within our means and capabilities with that goal in mind. John Kear has made sure our recruitment thus far has been very solid. We look forward to presenting the new 2019 squad to our fans at the upcoming season launch in early December. Keep an eye out for the date.

We also are looking forward to a Boxing Day game against York City Knights at Odsal Stadium, genuinely being described as the “Grand Final that never happened”.

I know the team are excited to start with our foes from York. This leads then into the Yorkshire Cup, commencing from the weekend of January 5-6 in 2019. Keep an eye out for the fixture list and competing sides.

Rugby league is coming at you thick and fast. Just make sure you take advantage of our Early Bird Discount offer, which has been extended to November 30 to take into account our later than expected season finish in October.

The savings are significant and represent great value. Book now to secure your tickets, secure great savings and to support your club as John Kear and the team work hard to earn the right to challenge for promotion to Super League in 2019. #COYB.

Meanwhile on the international front, last week’s first Test win for England was certainly a hard fought affair.

This was always destined to be a tight series with both sides starting the rebuilding process that occurs between World Cups.

I thought the Kiwis had the better of the first half and were unlucky to go in to the sheds all square. They faded somewhat in a tight second half and England stayed strong, going through what the coaches call, the processes.

It took a piece of brilliant play from Oliver Gildart to edge the home side in front. In rugby league you tend to get what you deserve and I thought, just on balance the hosts deserved the spoils, marginally. No doubt they got the edge of the 50/50s but in truth I thought England deserved victory.

What the coaches of both sides will be exceptionally pleased about will be the blooding of so many new and inexperienced but exciting players.

With the World Cup now in a long overdue rhythm, all the leading nations will be working towards the 2021 edition. Australia have probably got the biggest upheaval of any nation, given the retirement of their own super stars, Thurston, Cronk, Smith and company.

Expect the Kiwis to bounce back and take the spoils this weekend to set up a final decider. I am staying behind my prediction that over the three games the Kiwis will get home.

One element that will concern many is the attendance numbers. Although the stadium looked the part and no doubt the viewing figures will be good, on a cold October Saturday, it really isn’t good enough for high quality international rugby league not to be selling out.

We have to stop making excuses - the weather, the TV, Hull and Hull KR having poor seasons. The facts are other sports manage to get supporters out behind the national side.

I am also of the view that the shenanigans in the summer turned some people off.

Our sport is built upon family values and support for the whole league community and when people smell self-interest and marginalising the majority of the sport in favour of the few, moderates turn away.

They don’t want to be associated or support a sport that loses its values or sense of identity.