SUNDAY’S 82-point demolition of Rochdale draws to a close a long season for the Bradford Bulls.

It’s worth remembering that our first game for the 2019 season actually began with our Boxing Day match against the York City Knights.

Since Christmas the Bulls first team have notched up a mammoth 37 games, winning 23 games, with one draw. Falling short of our goal to qualify for the new top five McIntyre play-off format.

Certainly pre-season matches took its toll in 2019, whereas for the 2020 season, the Bulls will be limited to just three pre-season games.

Five shoulder operations and two knee operations is a timely reminder that rugby league isn’t for the faint hearted.

The 2020 pre-season programme will be less in number, but we will be looking to test our squad against probably two Super League opposition.

Those arrangements are close to being finalised, and will be released in due course, but the club is aiming to play higher quality opposition as we build towards the start of the 2020 Betfred Championship.

Certainly the player revolving door is active as Ethan Ryan takes up his Super League contract with Hull KR.

We certainly wish Ethan good luck with his career as he looks to earn a position assuming Hull KR can beat the relegation drop.

As I said to Ethan he is always welcome at the Bulls.

Other players also leaving the club include: Matt Garside, Ashley Gibson, Callum Bustin, Matty Wildie and James Green. We wish all these players good luck with their careers.

Fourteen first team players are contracted for 2020 and include: Matthew Storton, Connor Farrell, Evan Hodgson, Steve Crossley (captain), Thomas Doyle, Elliot Minchella, Rowan Milnes, Jordan Lilley, Joe Keyes, Jake Webster, Brandon Pickersgill, Jy Hitchcox, David Foggin-Johnson and Joe Brown.

In discussions with John Kear, we expect to complete the signings of up to another nine first team players, once the RFL approves our 2020 budget and total player spend. We expect this to be completed and announced in the coming weeks.

Rest assured discussions have been occurring with the players we are looking to sign for the 2020 season.

Certainly our new home ground the Tetley’s Stadium is a boutique rugby league stadium, whose dimensions and tight pitch will influence part of the make-up of those additional nine players.

Being much closer to the playing pitch, will allow our fans an opportunity to really raise the atmosphere, into what we all expect to be a daunting trip out for all visiting teams.

The Bradford Bulls enjoy the strongest home crowds in the UK outside of Super League, so I have no doubt that all fans will have an enjoyable fan experience, and I can realistically see, at least half of our home fixtures being sell outs.

Complementing our first team, will be a dual registration partnership.

Certainly a club gets significant benefits from these arrangements, and an agreement in principle has been reached.

We will hold off making a formal announcement until after the 2019 season has been concluded.

Tomorrow, the club is holding an open day, at the Tetley’s Stadium between 10am and 2pm. Please have a look around and identify your preferred vantage point for the 2020 season.

Take advantage of our early bird offer and the great savings and discounts available.

The East Stand is selling out, so make sure you secure your preferred place for 2020.

Hospitality numbers are also expected to sell out early so book now and avoid disappointment. Early bird discounts provide very good savings.

The club also expects to confirm its location for the ticket and lottery office in Wibsey this week, completing a very busy week for Russ Macfarlane and the rest of his hard-working management team.

A very sincere thanks to all those fans and sponsors who have assisted with what was a very big relocation exercise. Job done.

A very special thanks to those ground staff who have now also moved on from the club and taken roles elsewhere. All the very best in your careers.

Casting an eye over the top five Championship play-offs it would take a brave person to bet against the red-hot Toronto team. They get to enjoy the week off, and will then play the winner of Toulouse v York, in the major semi-final next week in Toronto.

The winner books their place in the grand final, earning a second week off.

On the other side of the draw Leigh v Featherstone is the elimination semi-final to stay in the contest, with the winner playing the loser of the Toulouse v York game, for the right to player the loser of the major semi-final, to win the other Grand Final spot. Sound confusing, McIntyre, an Australian, was a lawyer and a handy mathematician.

It’s a tough run if you’re not Toronto. Fred Done agrees as the Toronto odds of gaining promotion are very short.

Tonight’s final Super League round will no doubt generate some large crowds particularly for those teams at the bottom of the table.

I recall the arguments being put forward by Ian Lenagan around the need to abolish the middle eights to stop the effects of 'Jeopardy' on the Super League clubs last year.

You have to laugh at some of the rubbish thrown around as justification.

This year, four clubs all on 20 points – one at risk of certain relegation.

I can’t wait to hear the moans from the Super league club owners and coaches bemoaning promotion and relegation.

I will certainly feel for the players, staff and fans of the winner of the wooden spoon.

It’s a horrible consequence, but reflects the changes that were forced through against the better judgement of many.

News that Super League are busy contemplating a deal with a Private Equity firm is no surprise to me.

Look back at my column on September 18, 2018 entitled 'A Billion Pounds anyone?'

At the time I predicted a similar path to rugby union: “The sale of our own elite competition to a private equity firm could conceivably value Super League up towards a billion pounds, to the right strategic partners, creating huge pay-offs for the lucky 12 clubs.

"A concerning transfer of intellectual property and value away from the RFL, and the game as a whole. I’m sure none of this is driving the unbelievable urgency and haste being shown by the Super League clubs.

"I have no objection to the Super League clubs trying their luck, pushing the envelope to improve their position.

"But the RFL board, must not contemplate surrendering the game, and throwing the keys to Robert Elstone in the process.

"Their job is to look after the whole game and the current proposal is an outrageous abandonment of those obligations."

I repeat my concerns. This needs careful thought and consideration and the application of good governance by the RFL and the clubs that make up the rugby league membership.

Any normal commercial process needs solid independent advice for ALL stakeholders to consider coupled with complete transparency.

Certainly in this process the RFL and the Super League clubs are, of course, conflicted and interested parties.

In speaking to many club owners, who are concerned at speaking out publicly, the level of disclosure appears to be very concerningly zilch.

This is a serious matter that needs serious consultation and disclosure with ALL members.

Deals that enrich one group of shareholders ahead of others is cause for great concern.

I predict that if this private equity deal proceeds, you can kiss promotion relegation goodbye from 2022 or shortly thereafter, and with it the end of semi-professional Championship and League One rugby league.

The sport will look exactly like the Australasian NRL structure.

Potentially by 2022, the game might only have eight professional UK-based clubs.

I’ll no doubt be red-carded for my views, but the legacy of many great clubs outside the Super League is at risk to being confined to the history books.

In my opinion, that would truly be a bad outcome for our great game.