CAN I say at the outset 'thank you' to all those wonderful supporters who made the trip to Widnes last weekend and gave the team such magnificent encouragement.

I am sorry we couldn’t quite do enough to bring home the spoils on this occasion.

It was always going to be a tough ask playing against a side who looked hardly different from when it played in the Super League and who had the emotional euphoria of a rebirth following the recent administration.

Despite that, we nearly pulled off a dramatic win – although to be fair I don’t think we deserved it over the full 80 minutes.

I am not belly-aching, but I am envious of how speedily the Widnes insolvency was dealt with by their administrator compared to the protracted nonsense at the end of 2016 for our club. We are where we are though, and we are slowly rebuilding this great club.

I hear the moans from some quarters over various refereeing decisions and the odd jibe pointed at the touch judges. But regardless of how you saw the decisions, if you leave your fate in the hands of others then don’t complain when the call goes against you!

The match officials weren’t dropping balls, missing tackles, or giving away penalties. You have to own up and take the blame.

Last week’s match once again reminded anybody in any doubt as to how vibrant and competitive Championship rugby league is. A high-quality fixture played in front of a crowd that will beat many in the Super League this year.

Our sport’s leaders are still working out how to move forward with the Championship in particular, with new applications apparently on the horizon from New York and Ottawa.

It’s a particularly thorny subject, for most people would roundly welcome a wider geographical footprint for the sport but at the same time the RFL does have an obligation to look after and promote its own (UK) members’ interests.

There are similar issues in the southern hemisphere with a PNG club side in the Queensland Cup competition and the possibility of a Fijian side in the NSW competition.

Both major leagues are therefore taking a fair share of the burden to try and promote the sport on an international basis but, as I have argued many times before, it has to be done with due reverence to existing members and the protection of their interests.

It’s not an easy circle to square and I am particularly pleased that it’s not a subject for my in-tray.

On a more sombre note, I was privileged to attend the wake of legendary former Bradford coach Peter Fox earlier this week. Whilst I can’t claim to know every player who has ever played for our club as intimately as many, it was humbling to see so many players with great playing records at the club turning out to do justice to the former gaffer.

These included former Northern players Jimmy Thompson and Keith Bridges together with Alan Rhodes who were all associated with the Featherstone club. They were joined by the Redfern brothers, Alan and David, Keith Mumby, Carl Fairbank and John Hamer from the more recent past, together with Wayne and David Heron, Graham Idle and Derek Fox from the 1980s to name but a few.

There were many other celebrities in attendance from the media – Dave Woods, current BBC commentator who I understand used to have Peter as an expert summariser; and John Helm, a renowned sports commentator; and former Radio Leeds presenter John Boyd.

Peter’s family were of course there in great numbers including his brother Neil Fox, one of the greatest players of all time who also graced the red, amber and black of our club.

Tomorrow we welcome Leigh Centurions to Odsal in what will prove to be another very difficult contest.

The fixture represents the quarter mark of this playing season and will represent an appropriate time to analyse whether the team and the wider club have made the progress hoped for on our return to Championship.

It is important as a club and a playing group that we maintain momentum and progress positively. And, with some terrific strategic partnerships in the pipeline to assist the club in its re-establishment, it is important that we continuously scrutinise every aspect of our performance.

Hopefully, the weather will be kind to us and with a large following expected from Leigh the event will be another Championship classic. I know we will be able to rely on loyal Bulls fans to provide the encouragement and support needed to lift the lads during the match.

One of the features of playing Leigh is the timely reminder that the Leigh side from last year will bear little resemblance to that which takes the pitch tomorrow, with charismatic and controversial owner Derek Beaumont re-engineering his squad.

Player movements seem to be much more prevalent at the moment, in particular with Super League depositing fringe players in the Championship prolifically.

They also have the benefit of an arrangement with St Helens which will deliver high quality juniors into their squad. The whole dual registration structure is a serious matter for the sport to discuss and its impact on the competition balance and viability of clubs.

Hopefully, we see as many of you as possible tomorrow cheering the lads on. Please get along to Odsal to see your team battle it out. Unsurprisingly, Leigh are predicting a large travelling support with estimates of over 5,000 set to enjoy this weekend's match. No doubts about the strength of Championship rugby league.

We expect this game to be the toughest of the season. This is set to be a top arm wrestle, and we anticipate it going right down to the wire. Fingers and toes crossed, that we are on the right side of the match officials' decisions this week.

See you at Odsal Stadium where kick-off is at 3pm. Get your discounted tickets and enjoy significant savings from the Bulls Club Shop or online at #COYB #BullsNation