BRADFORD Bulls Women are hoping to attract new players as they prepare to mount the defence of their titles next season.

Mark Prescott's team will begin 2018 as reigning Super League and Challenge Cup champions.

But the emergence of new teams in an expanded competition means it won't be easy for Bulls to retain their crowns.

Prescott is hoping to find potential new players who can strengthen the double-winners and the club are holding an open training session for possible new recruits.

He said: "Even with the success we had last season, we know we need to improve to be just as competitive in 2018.

"Player recruitment was always on the agenda to help us achieve this.

"As part of our strategy we are working with local clubs and schools to grow and improve the talent pool.

"We will be holding a development day on January 13 open to all women that would like to try rugby league. This will be held at the club's high performance training centre (at Tong) and we will use the club's resources to assist us, including head of youth John Bastian and new first-team head coach John Kear.

"We hope to attract talented athletes that want the opportunity to join the current champions."

Leeds and Wigan are among the new teams set to offer fresh competition, with Bulls having already lost Lois Forsell, Danika Priim, Charlotte Booth and Aimee Staveley to rivals Rhinos.

But Prescott is relishing the increased competition which he can only see as being good for the game.

He said: "We are really looking forward to an extended Women's Super League in 2018. As I understand it there have been applications from eight teams looking to be part of it next year.

"Having new teams like Leeds and Wigan involved is exciting and is what the women's game has needed for some time.

"The new teams will be looking to set a marker down and will want to knock us off the top. We will need to work hard to ensure we can back up last year's success."

In addition to their clean sweep domestically, Bulls also boasted having ten players in the England squad who reached the semi-finals of the Women's Rugby League World Cup in Australia.

"Backing up a very successful season with another the following year is always a challenge," admitted Prescott.

"However, we are ready for that challenge and with the plans we have in place and additional support from the club, I'm confident 2018 will be another good year."

And the formation of a women's Rhinos team also means the re-emergence of the Bradford-Leeds rivalry which has laid dormant in recent years due to the decline of the Bulls men's team.

Prescott said: "A Bradford v Leeds game is something that a lot of people will be looking forward to and no doubt it will be a very competitive derby game. I know the team are looking forward to it already."

The open training session on Saturday, January 13 is from noon to 3pm.