STEVE Crossley has described the RFL’s decision to axe the Bulls academy as an “absolute travesty”.

The skipper admits he is struggling to find a legitimate reason for shutting down a production line of such rich talent.

The club missed out to Leeds and Huddersfield as the governing body’s ruling indicated they did not want to saturate certain areas.

But Crossley has been left utterly bemused by that thought process.

“I’m absolutely fuming,” he said. “I genuinely don’t get it – I’ve got no words.

“You look at this club through all the years from Great Britain to the England national team now.

“You’ve got your Fieldens, Deacons, Pryces and recently Bateman, Whitehead, the Burgesses and the Super League players we’ve developed through here.

“Obviously, I’ve gone up to play Super League myself and then there’s Alex Mellor, Adam O’Brien, James Bentley – the list is endless.

“To take an academy away from Bradford, where rugby has been so big for years and years, and the likes of Castleford … I just don’t understand.

“I don’t think any team should be deprived of having an academy at all. These are young kids who are wanting a place in the game and it’s just been chucked away from them for no reason.”

Crossley came through the Bulls ranks from Clayton and was one of eight local lads in the 17 that won so impressively at London over the weekend.

He added: “It’s not just that but if you look at our first-team list I’d say a good 60 per cent are homegrown players.

“It’s an absolute travesty that it’s been allowed to happen so I hope it all gets pulled back.

“The RFL should look at it again instantly. Absolutely they should.

“Every club needs an academy – where we going to get these kids from if we can’t develop them?”

The Bulls issued a statement on Sunday criticising the “apparently incomprehensible decision” and were waiting for a clear explanation before deciding on their next steps.

Coach John Kear agreed that it was baffling call.

He said: “I don’t know why they’ve axed it. How can you do that when you’ve got the proven production line that Bradford has?

“You only have to look at our team on Sunday. Where’s the sense? I just don’t see it.”

It was fitting that two of the academy products in the current line-up, Thomas Doyle and Brandon Pickersgill, should be among the scorers in the Bulls’ most impressive win of the season to date.

Crossley was proud of the performance against their full-time opponents – which made it five wins on the bounce for Kear’s resurgent troops. And it felt even better doing it in front of the fans for the first time in well over a year.

The big forward said: “It was brilliant. As soon as we came out for the warm-up, all you could hear was ‘everywhere we go’.

“Rugby has not been the best without fans; it's the same with any sport.

“To have them back cheering and chanting everyone’s name gives us that extra 14th man on the pitch.

“It does make a difference. When there’s no crowd, you need to create your own atmosphere and sometimes it’s hard to do that.

“Even those little moments, when London were testing us on last tackles, the crowd were all behind us on the try line willing us on. You do recognise that in a game.

“They’ve just been able to watch it on the Our League app so they don’t really get any atmosphere from the game apart from willing us on through the telly.

“For them to be here as well and experience it, get all that release off their chest that they can finally watch professional sport again, is really good.

“Even the abusive bits sound good! I think it was John Bateman the other night who sent out a tweet that he got called not a nice word but he loved hearing it!

“It’s just hearing the crowd again brings another level to the game.

“We’ll get to have them at home for our next two games. I’m not sure how many numbers we can have but we’ll maximise that.”

The Bulls consolidated their third place behind unbeaten Toulouse and Featherstone, who are both looming on the fixture list next month.

But Crossley believes they should take plenty of confidence from the latest victory.

“We’ve built up some really good momentum. I know the start against Sheffield wasn’t the best but we knew we aren’t that kind of side. We are challenging to be up there.

"We’ve set goals for this year and we’re on track with them.”