WHAT an important win last weekend at Batley.

After the tribulations and disappointments of the previous three weeks, a win was vital and really important to get us moving forward again on our journey.

I think overall it was a strong performance from our lads, much better than the Yorkshire Cup win and certainly better than in recent weeks.

I don’t think the weather conditions did us any favours and in reality I thought we were in decent control and could have pinched a couple more tries – especially in the first half when we didn’t ground the ball twice.

In the second half, we were pretty comfortable most of the time, except when silly penalties hurt us.

What was also pleasing was to see our halves combination performing, but there's still much for the coaching staff to work on in preparation for our immediate challenges.

The win was vital for all sorts of reasons. Confidence yes, but also in terms of the league ladder.

We always knew the Championship was going to be a tough, tight competition and that has certainly proved to be the case. Every side is capable of beating one another.

Step forward Toulouse who walloped Toronto last weekend to follow up taking the points from Odsal earlier.

Without taking anything away from Toulouse, the loss following so quickly on the back of a narrow Dewsbury squeak will surprise many who thought Toronto would canter away with the league this year.

It’s a long race and there will be many twists and turns before the champions are ultimately crowned.

Currently there are only two points between second and eighth position – albeit York and Sheffield have games in hand, with York’s fixture at Rochdale being postponed.

This is of course the second time in less than two months when Rochdale has been the only fixture to fall foul of the weather while the rest of the full Championship programme takes place.

A cursory glance at the football League One table shows Rochdale FC in 22nd place – just one place above our friends from Valley Parade – so it would not be a shock if they didn’t want their pitch turning up in the middle of a relegation dogfight.

Multi-sports stadia are the right way forward in the 21st century. You can’t run an old and decaying complex on 13 or 14 home games a year. It's basic economics.

But if you do embark on a shared facility with other clubs you have to make sure you are equal partners and your rights are fully protected.

This week our club was privileged to host the Challenge Cup draw and, as you will no doubt know, we have drawn a tough away fixture at Keighley.

Our near neighbours have had their own tribulations recently and it is excellent news for the town and for rugby league that they have bounced back.

I have not had the opportunity to meet the new board yet but I wish them well – except of course in the Challenge Cup!

When we played there last year we had a good win backed by a great following. I am sure, given a fair day, Cougar Park will be rocking with the red, amber and black. I can’t wait to see the Cougarmania in full cry!

This weekend we travel to Widnes for what will be a hell of a battle and perhaps our toughest game of the season.

The Vikings were second favourites at the start of the season with the bulk of their Super League squad still intact.

Their recent insolvency was seemingly far better dealt with than that inflicted upon the Bulls two years ago – short, sharp and with minimum of damage.

Still, no insolvency is without consequences, financial, moral and in the league table. The Vikings have already virtually eliminated their 12-point deduction with a 4:1 win/loss ratio so far. Their only defeat being to Toronto immediately before administration.

The club, under new ownership and with the bulk of their squad intact, will be euphoric at the moment. On an artificial pitch and with a vociferous home crowd, it will be a severe challenge to our boys, but I’m confident we can back up our Batley performance.

One question that hasn’t been answered by the RFL is the league distribution being given to the Vikings.

I repeat it cannot be acceptable that a club can drop off a load of debt and yet keep their distribution untouched, while all the other competitors struggle. This isn’t going to go away and needs to be addressed.

After the Vikings game we welcome another recent Super League club Leigh Centurions to Odsal Stadium.

We haven’t played Leigh for a couple of years and this is another firecracker fixture.

Nothing is easy in this Championship division and victories are never cheap. Hopefully, Odsal will be full and vibrant for a fixture that will go a long way towards indicating the prospects of either side this season.

Off the field, the RFL is promoting a very worthy initiative for clubs to develop advisory groups around the league.

This is an initiative originally inspired by Sport England to increase equality and diversity in sport, and I believe it is the right way forward. Clubs are community assets and owners are mere temporary custodians.

I see it as a fundamental part of my mission in rebuilding the Bulls to strengthen the club's governance, broaden the management expertise and enhance the volunteers section of the club.

The very best clubs know how to involve the very best people and champions alike. This approach will enable our club to progress forward to the next level. It is something the Bulls are going to embrace enthusiastically.

Finally, it's interesting that Super League has announced that the two referee proposal is to be ditched.

Quite right. I know there is no real support for it in Australia even though they have to publicly defend it. Many people believe if they hadn’t already done it, they would not do it now.

Quite why Robert Elstone prematurely and unequivocally pronounced it was to happen this year, and then next year, I am afraid, is another misjudgement. Not catastrophic to be fair, but absolutely unnecessary.

Just like, it has to be said, was the announcement of the end of the Middle Eights which destroyed unity around the sport last year.

Lots of dust will be thrown up about supply of referees but the answer is simpler than that. The Super League clubs won’t contribute the money when they would rather keep it themselves.

Much better news for Elstone though. Attendances are on the up – but only if you disregard those you’d prefer not to include in the calculations like London. Hey-ho, you've got to smile.

Please get along to Widnes to see your team battle it out tomorrow. Widnes unsurprisingly are predicting their largest crowd of the year, with estimates of over 8,000 which will be interesting to see.

No doubts about the Bulls pulling power! We need to drown them out with our travelling fan army.

See you at Halton Stadium, Widnes. Kick-off is 3pm. Don’t forget to check out the helpful away travel guide.

Get your tickets from the Bulls Club Shop or online at www.bradfordbulls.co.uk/tickets. #COYB #BullsNation