BRADFORD Bulls half-back Jordan Lilley has not forgotten how the club restored his love for rugby league, saying that it was a big factor in his decision to stay for the 2020 Championship season.

Lilley was tipped for superstardom when he became a regular starter at Leeds Rhinos as a teenager in 2016, but things did not quite go to plan, with the now 23-year-old admitting that he found himself in a bad place towards the end of his time there.

He has been influential at Bulls over the last three seasons though, with his performances in 2019 helping him to the T&A's player of the year award and the club to sixth in the second tier.

Lilley has never been happier in rugby league, and queried about his decision to stay at Bulls, he said: "It could have been quite easy to go but Bradford showed faith in me when I was in a real dark spot towards the back end of my Leeds career.

"I'll repay them by sticking by them and we'll see where it goes this year.

"I'm really confident that we can do something this season. I don't just want to settle. Some people are saying 'let's just stay up' but I don't want to do that.

"I want to set some goals this year for this team and push up there for that top five again."

That is an ambitious goal given the departures of the likes of try merchant Ethan Ryan (Hull KR) and Super League stalwart Jake Webster (Keighley Cougars).

Lilley admitted: "We had some really good players here last year who were easy to play with. Last year was one of the closest group of lads I've ever been involved in.

"We stayed together even though there were some things happening behind the scenes and we've stayed pretty tight this year. There's a few players gone elsewhere but they've gone to challenge themselves at Super League level so fair play to them. I wish them all the best.

"It's going to be different this year, we've got a lot of challenges ahead, but we've got a young bunch that are working hard and chomping at the bit to get going.

"It's going to be really tough but hopefully we can recruit a few older heads to steady the ship a bit. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead. It's always good when people write you off and you can prove them wrong."

Lilley is also embracing the challenge of the business world, running Lilley's Fitness on Wakefield Road in Bradford.

He is thrilled with its rapid progress, saying: "The gym's going very well. It's been a goal of mine for a year now. We did some boot camps and set some goals and it's nice that I can set it up as a family business with my dad.

"We're building each week with clients and we just need to keep going with it. It's something on the side of rugby and it will set me up for after my career."