GEORGE Flanagan reckons it will feel all the sweeter if the Bulls can get back to Super League the hard way.

The wily campaigner has swallowed his disappointment at missing out in the ballot to replace Toronto Wolfpack in 2021.

The Bulls were among five clubs to miss out when the panel opted for Leigh to make up the 12th team in the top flight.

Flanagan has now set his sights on winning promotion the traditional way in what is shaping up to be the most competitive Championship on record.

He said: “I thought we stood a decent chance of getting there with the build-up of it all and the expectation of the application.

“But obviously you can’t take anything away from Leigh. I know it’s not all down to the squad but they are a solid side who have recruited some quality players.

“They were one of the favourites so fair play to them. We were never there, so it wasn’t taken away from us.

“We’ll have to try to do it on the field of play next year.”

London, Toulouse, York and Featherstone were also unsuccessful in their bid and are likely to mount serious challenges for second-tier supremacy.

“The Championship is going to be massive,” added Flanagan. “It’s the strongest competition for as long as I can remember.

“Every squad has strengthened and you can see the players that are coming through. It’s mad but that can only benefit the game.

“It’s been a good three years for us as a club, coming from League One and then stabilising in the Championship.

“I do think that we do need another year in the Championship – obviously, this one was a total write-off.

“Give it a good solid season next year and the way it’s shaping, it’s going to be an exciting one.”

Flanagan signed an extension on his contract in September for another season. The arrival of Danny Brough means that the 34-year-old is no longer the veteran in John Kear’s squad.

But as one of the senior figures, he feels the players will be stronger for another year of Championship rugby.

“There are some young kids coming through and it would have been a massive step to Super League. Albeit, I’ve never played Super League myself and would love to play there – although age isn’t on my side.

“John has transformed the club in the last three years. It’s grown really strong with the new owners coming in as well and everything is rosy.

“Another year in the Championship is probably the right thing to be doing.”