SO the curtain falls on another British rugby league season and already we are impatient for our Boxing Day 'grand final' match against the York City Knights.

At Bradford believe it or not we are only six weeks from Christmas and more excitedly for me, six weeks from our first match against York. There is a massive degree of unfinished business following one victory each this year.

We have a great relationship with, and respect for, the Knights and we are developing many initiatives together. The first of these, is a reformation of the Yorkshire Cup commencing the weekend of January 5/6 which has been very well received. It takes a chaotic part of the season and attempts to put it in some order.

The Bulls, York and others have come to the conclusion that if we are to flourish going forward there must be a programme of supreme self-reliance.

The antics of the RFL during the summer and the complete abandonment of the Championship has eroded the confidence in the current leadership, in protecting the interests of the RFL. They, of course, won’t be around in the years to come when the consequences of their action will be fully laid bare for all to see, but this club and others will take whatever action we need to, to protect the future of our great game.

The RFL have, to their credit, attempted to invest some time and energy into our competition and the so-called 1895 Cup seems to be a positive step forward. It is, of course, mainly about shoring up the Challenge Cup.

We are also waiting on the RFL to decide where to play Summer Bash. Naturally I think Odsal Stadium would make a great entertainment venue, with large crowds flocking to support the concept.

But we wait with interest to see if the comprehensive proposal put forward to the RFL is indeed accepted. The Bradford Council/Team Bradford proposal has received strong support from other Championship and League One clubs, but let’s see how the blazer brigade respond.

Hosting the event in rugby league centric Yorkshire has enormous appeal, and makes so much commercial sense for the game.

It is also interesting to see the new Super League executive showing great vision and going to Anfield for its Magic Weekend.

The announcement comes a week after a disappointing crowd for the Test match at the same venue. There is also a new fixture format to wet the lips, I can hardly wait for Wakefield v Catalan and Hull v Huddersfield on the first day; and I am sure Salford v HKR and Leeds v London will also pack them in.

Of course, the new format has happened because the clubs have decided to keep the most attractive fixtures, like the Hull derby for themselves as the new third loopy fixtures.

It is clearly a matter for Super League, but I predict the Magic event might be the first casualty of the new era as it dies a slow and painful death with mediocre fixture match-ups failing to tempt the supporters to make a weekend of it. I truly hope I am wrong, but I will keep this article for future reference. About 2021 I’d say.

Oh, and how the mighty Kiwis flew, metaphorically, to restore some sense of pride into my nation and in some style. The series may have been lost and New Zealand may have succumbed to third place in the world, but Elland Road provided a fitting reminder of what the Kiwis are all about.

In truth it was never a 34-0 game. If you watched it you will have known it was a six-point ball game for the first 30 minutes, then three quick tries when England were changing personnel and defensive structures, then another half hour of tussle. Finally two late tries gave the scoreline an imbalance.

Some suspect decision making by the match officials undermined any chance of a contest particularly Makinson's first 'try' which probably should not have been scrubbed.

The non-contest was a shame, even more so given the RFL attracted over 33,000 into the stadium. It was a great crowd, the biggest of the year for any kind of international, even bigger than the much vaunted Tonga v Australia in Auckland a month ago, which was also a fantastic colourful spectacle.

It goes to show there is a great appetite for international rugby league and, in particular, for a successful England side.

The crowd was nearly double that in so-called rugby-mad Hull, and no doubt will have been buoyed by the performances in the first two Tests.

I am a fan of Wayne Bennett as I have said before, I think he’s good for the sport and a coaching guru of the modern era.

The RFL struck gold when they hired him and the improvement demonstrated so far amply proves his value.

Twenty minutes in the 80 minutes from last week, meant the scoreline shows an unflattering look, but anyone who knows the sport, recognises what they were watching. The key, of course, is the relationships he develops with his players, a total trust and mutual respect. Every single player waxes lyrical, it is all there.

Closer to Bradford, I cannot go any further without sending my own personal hearty congratulations to our own John Kear.

Under his leadership, Wales have qualified for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and a great job he has done.

Wales lost, too easily in game one against France, but put Scotland to the sword last weekend before finishing the job with a convincing win over Ireland.

Not many saw those two results coming. Wales were probably the weakest of the nations in last year’s World Cup, with a couple of heavy defeats. But they got past both Scotland and Ireland with some style which given the lesser resources is a real compliment to all concerned.

Full credit to JK, especially given the denial of some players, particularly from Super League clubs.

International rugby league seems to be on the up. And how fantastic it is to be able to say that. News is dripping out of a Lions Tours to the South Pacific with games against everyone apparently except Australia. How the Kangaroos have manoeuvred themselves into a position where the Lions are in the Southern Hemisphere and yet they are not playing Australia is one of the great mysteries of our time.

In my lifetime, Australia always got what it wanted, usually a three-game series, before any Tour went over the ditch, (which is the Tasman Sea by the way), to finish its tour in New Zealand.

There must be some very peculiar complications to leave us scratching our heads as to how the Lions can be in town but not be playing the World Champions. Poor form by the Australians.

But enough about what is not happening and more of what is.

The Lions, I never understand what the difference is between Great Britain and England but so what, would appear be playing New Zealand and the likes of Tonga, Fiji and PNG.

It sounds like a great tour and a real Test; yes Test, I think that is the right word.

I’ll be interested to see how many players go, presumably it’s more than usual so players from the recent England Knights as well as Wales, Scotland and Ireland may get a start.