BULLS have been left ecstatic after being told they can continue to run an Elite Academy.

They, along with Castleford and Hull KR, were awarded a Probationary Elite Licence for an initial two-year period (2022-23) by the RFL, and their progress will be kept under regular review.

But Bulls did sound a note of caution, admitting that the revised financial support provided by the RFL is likely to be either removed completely or drastically cut.

They said: “This will undoubtedly place a considerable strain on the club, but we believe we must explore all ways of investing in the youth of the city.”

And this has delighted Bulls Scholarship head coach Ryan Hunkin, who said: “I'm absolutely delighted. I felt for the

kids so much, but we've now got a player pathway and we can continue to build on the work we've been doing for many years.

"It's a massive injection that Bradford rugby league welcomes and it's absolutely huge for us.

"Thankfully, now that decision has been made, we can run an elite academy. As much as we can put on good sessions for them and develop them, they need to be playing with good players.

"If we are not in that top tier of competing against the best, then we are not going to develop the best players, so we needed that and I'm absolutely delighted."

Hunkin added: "The lads that we have got in the academy at the minute, they've been under considerable strain since the announcement.

"And it has shown in the results on the pitch.

"We did get a good result against Newcastle Thunder on Wednesday with the 17's, and it was a massive relief, because it was big for us, knowing the work they've put in on the pitch.

"This news will give the academy boys a great lift. It will certainly be a different feeling at training, because as much as we've tried to keep the spirits high and focus on doing well this season, there has always been that overriding doubt over their futures.

"They've certainly got something to look ahead to now, and I'm so pleased for all the staff who have worked tirelessly to develop young kids from the city, not just Bradford, but from surrounding cities.

"It certainly is a boost for Bradford's rugby league."

And Hunkin, who is also West Bowling's Head Coach, is set to to take on Drighlington in a local derby this weekend.

Looking ahead to the fixture, Hunkin said: "It's going to be another tough game and they're going from strength to strength.

"They've got a lot of good things going on including a new facility, so they're looking up just like we are.

"And they will want to get it right on the pitch, so I'm sure they will give us a good game, but we are ready for the challenge.

"They play some aggressive rugby, so it will be tough.

"We just have to look after ourselves and ensure we are playing the best rugby we can, and with the strength of our squad, we can win it."