BRADFORD Bulls captain Steve Crossley has been a busy man during the last few months, but he is excited that he might be able to put aside some time for rugby league again soon.

The 30-year-old runs Crossley Cleaning Services and says business has been booming with everyone staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has even brought in a familiar face, in Sam Hallas, alongside him.

But captain and vice-captain are set to link up on the field again soon enough, with Bulls provisionally entering the RFL’s invitational tournament this autumn, and Crossley cannot wait.

He said: “It’s exciting. We talked about it as a group and John (Kear) had us all on a Zoom call about our plans for entering.

“The feedback from that was that we want to be back safely as we’ve been missing the sport. All the players have bought into it.

“Hopefully we can inspire others to play in the tournament, but everyone has got their own agenda for entering, as it boils down to finances, safety and testing.

“Hopefully there’ll be as many teams as the RFL needs to play the competition.”

Discussing how time away from the sport has not left him short of things to do, Crossley said: “I’ve played as a professional since I was 16 and you’re never normally more than five or six weeks away from the game, whereas I can hardly remember how long ago it was since we played Wakefield (in our last match).

“The lads are champing at the bit to get back to normality with training and playing.

“But since I was 20 or 21, I’ve always had a second job alongside my rugby league. It sounds bad saying it but my business has sky-rocketed since lockdown, as people are sat at home and they see stuff that needs doing with the house.

“I’ve even brought on Sam Hallas as my first recruit so we’ve had a good laugh together.”

Though Bulls’ progress has been halted due to the pandemic, Crossley is hopeful the club can dine at the top table again soon.

He said: “If you’re going to be a Bulls player, you can’t just rely on our history. You’ve got to play your part in pushing the club back up to where it belongs.

“We’ve always brought through great young players but lost them to other clubs. We need to get those young players to stay with us and stop talking (about getting back up to Super League) and start doing.”

While there is optimism for Bulls’ future, Crossley’s former club Toronto Wolfpack have suffered badly due to the pandemic.

They are in severe financial strife, have been forced to pull out of this season’s Super League and their participation next season is up in the air.

Crossley said: “I am devastated at what’s happened to them. I know people have their own feelings on Toronto but I’ve been part of the club and know some of the behind the scenes stuff.

“Their owner (David Argyle, who is stepping down) has self-funded everything from his own back pocket, including putting all away teams up in hotels for example.

“But there’s no crowds or furlough scheme for them, so he's still had to keep paying his players when there’s no income.

“I feel for Toronto, I think they’ve been great for the sport. It’s been trying to expand for years and they’re the one team that’s come in and put money on the table.

“They only started playing in 2017 and they’ve gone from that to being in Super League this year.

“Now it looks like they’re out of the sport for the time being. I just hope we see them in Super League again soon.”