DECEMBER marks the commencement of our campaign in the Championship, and you can’t help but feel genuine excitement all around the club.

Today, SouthBank will be teeming with fans collecting season tickets, and undoubtedly looking to add the latest Kappa gear to their wardrobe collection, including the brand new home and away shirts.

For those of you who attended the new kit launch on Monday in the Broadway, I certainly hope you enjoyed the show, led by Bradford's X-Factor star, Danny Tetley. A lot of work went into producing this event that I hope sets the standard for the coming season – off the field at least.

On the training pitch and in the gym, players have been flat out trying to overcome the challenges being thrown at them by the coaching team.

Easy to sit behind the keyboard and scream at them to crank it up, but the reality is on the training field and in the weights room, there is no hiding from the friendly smile of our head of strength and conditioning Adam Simpson. He understands the demands of a gladiatorial sport like rugby league.

But don’t be fooled by the smile – he’s there to push athletes to go further than before.

Further, faster and stronger. And as everyone in the squad knows, there can be no short cuts.

Everyone is eagerly awaiting John Kear’s selection for squad numbers today, and it’s a big squad.

Today the team finds out who gets allocated what for the season. As I run the eye over the team, I feel genuine delight in just how successful our recruitment programme has been.

Of course, the revolving door was whirring away, but that’s the nature of clubs. Nothing truly stays the same when it comes to the playing roster. Players leave or get released, and new faces arrive. Excitingly, the club has signed some real talent for 2019, to compliment those players retained from this year.

New faces around the club include Jake Webster, Matty Wildie, David Foggin Johnson, Connor Farrell and Rhys Evans. I know the fans will embrace these new boys, as they settle into their new club.

The excitement also resonates from the fact that we have a squad of 22 full-time, 14 part-time, and a further 27 academy players, our women’s team and also our physical disability rugby league team.

It a massive set-up in anyone's language. It takes a lot of resources to keep these teams operating as we all know.

They exist thanks to the generous support of our commercial partners and stakeholders and, of course, relies on the support of our fans buying replica shirts, training gear, street wear, season and match tickets and so on.

To be able to have a full and thorough off-season is a massive milestone for the club. Speaking to John Kear, I have to say his calm and seasoned approach is just the tonic this lot needs. Proper planning and execution is exactly what is expected across the organisation.

No one is relying on hope. As we all know, hope isn’t a strategy. But to have a full off-season with effectively two full squads is an attractive proposition as we eye the number of potential games we will be required to play in the upcoming season.

John has ensured we have depth and competition for every position in the team. From positions one to 17. It, of course, highlights the need to have a competitive and effective reserve grade competition, and an ultra competitive Academy team to identify and “blood” tomorrows stars.

Against this we have our eagerly-anticipated Boxing Day clash with the York City Knights, followed by the newly-launched Yorkshire Cup over three weekends, with the opening double header at Odsal on January 6 against Halifax, followed by the semi-final and final in the ensuing weekends.

Add to this the Transatlantic Cup night game on Friday, January 25, against our Canadian friends the Toronto Wolfpack. Strap yourself in. Wow.

All that to prepare the squad for our blockbuster opening Championship League home game against Featherstone Rovers on February 3.

A lot of coaches and owners don’t like playing pre-season games. I think they are essential to allow players to develop match fitness and become battle ready.

The coaches need these games to build combinations and confidence. The same applies to the reserves.

I can’t understand why so many Super League clubs have ditched their reserves team. We won’t abandon our commitment and I think these strategies can inevitably provide the Bulls with a competitive edge in 2019.

I promise not to speculate on where we might finish this year, except to say we believe we will improve performance wise compared to 2018.

So get along and see your favourite players as they are unveiled down at SouthBank, Odsal Stadium today, from 11am.

Enjoy the presentation of your 2019 team, along with all the fun and festivities.

Enjoy meeting the Bradford Bulls team for 2019.