BY this time next week, we will know whether Bulls have been successful with their Super League application for 2021 or not.

They have won four Super League crowns in the last 25 years, and if they do get the nod to take part in the top flight next season, will we have to wait too much longer for a fifth?

For now, any chance of Bulls picking up a Super League title seems slim, so let us take a look back in time to the four occasions when that dream became a glorious reality.


Bulls won 17 of their 22 games in Super League’s inaugural season in 1996, but still finished third behind champions St Helens and Wigan.

They were determined to put things right at the second time of asking, and won the title with ease the following year under Australian head coach Matthew Elliot.

A brilliant 22-18 win at Wigan in game six, courtesy of two Danny Peacock tries, set the tone, but they nearly came unstuck twice in the space of five weeks against unfancied West Yorkshire rivals Halifax Blue Sox.

On April 23, Bulls were indebted to a Simon Knox treble for helping them scrape past Fax 28-26 at Odsal, before the return game on May 27 saw the hosts race into a 26-6 lead.

But with Stuart Spruce leading the comeback with a brace, a last-gasp try from Paul Loughlin in the corner made it 30-26, and sealed an improbable Bradford victory.

With comfortable doubles over Saints and Leeds, Bulls sealed the title with games to spare, and made it 20 league wins out of 20 when they obliterated Paris Saint-Germain (yes, really!) 68-0 at Odsal.

They failed to make it an invincible league season, losing their last two games to Wigan and London Broncos, but that could not detract from a magnificent first Super League title.


There were play-offs in place by 1999, which cost Bradford dearly. They won the League Leaders’ Shield with ease, but lost 8-6 to runners-up St Helens in a hard-fought Grand Final.

They did not make the same mistake two years later.

The 2001 season was the first of two where they played home games at Valley Parade, due to redevelopment work going on down at Odsal, but they did not let their new surroundings affect them.

Shane Rigon’s opening day hat-trick at home to St Helens got Bulls off to the perfect start, but they were rocked by a shock 16-12 defeat at Wakefield in game week five.

A draw at Hull soon followed, but five wins in a row got their league season back on track, including a dramatic 24-22 victory over Castleford in The Jungle and a 33-14 obliteration of Leeds at Headingley.

A leaky defence cost them in June, as 38-26 and 44-30 away defeats to St Helens and Wigan respectively bookended the month.

There were two more fine wins over Leeds, but defeats to mid-table Warrington and title challengers Wigan meant Bulls had to win their last two games to come top.

They did that, revenge-thumping Warrington 84-12 and crushing Leeds 62-18 at Valley Parade, beating Wigan to the League Leaders’ Shield on points difference.

Wigan’s pain wasn’t done there, as Bulls snuck past them 24-18 in the qualifying semi-final, before a Michael Withers hat-trick saw the Greater Manchester side pulverised 37-6 in the Grand Final.


This was Bulls’ greatest ever season, as they returned to Odsal and achieved a remarkable treble.

But they made a nightmare start to the Super League season, as they were thumped 46-22 by St Helens at Knowsley Road in their opening game.

What followed was nine league wins in a row, with the highlight a 48-22 win over Leeds at Odsal, courtesy of two tries apiece for Tevita Vaikona and Lesley Vainikolo.

June was a horror month though, with three league defeats at Odsal, including a surprise 22-12 loss to London and a humiliating 35-0 reverse at the hands of Saints.

But they won eight in a row after that, before a thrilling 22-21 win over Leeds in early September secured the League Leaders’ Shield.

The Rhinos were blown away 30-14 in the qualifying semi-final at Odsal, before tries from Shontayne Hape, Stuart Reardon and a retiring Jimmy Lowes sealed a superb 25-12 win over Wigan in the Grand Final. Paul Deacon finished both games with a perfect kicking record.


Bulls made a horror start to Super League X, losing five of their opening nine games, including a baffling 31-22 loss to eventually-relegated Widnes and a dreadful 42-12 defeat to Leeds at Odsal.

Four consecutive wins followed, but Bulls hit another sticky patch in mid-season, including an extraordinary 66-4 home loss to Saints and another defeat to Rhinos.

But they ended the regular season superbly, picking up eight wins in a row, including revenge victories at Headingley and Knowsley Road, to finish third.

In a lengthy play-off campaign, Bulls beat London 44-22 at Odsal, before destroying John Kear’s Hull in the elimination semi with an play-off record 71-0 win.

A much tougher semi-final followed, but a Hape try with three minutes left sealed a tense 23-18 win over Saints at Knowsley Road.

And Bulls finally got chance to get one over Leeds in a Grand Final, winning that 15-6 at Old Trafford courtesy of tries for Vainikolo and Leon Pryce.