AFTER all the talk of unpaid bills, blocked signings and the possibility of uprooting from Odsal, rugby made a welcome return to the Bulls agenda yesterday.

These are unsettling times for Bradford fans as they hear of more potential uncertainty swirling around a club that have had more than their fair share in recent years.

Andrew Chalmers has talked publicly of “Bexit”, quitting their spiritual home with no deal in place, and the prospect of having to find alternative accommodation from next year because of the financial strain on the club of propping up a ground in desperate need of major care.

Suggestions of Horsfall Stadium, Valley Parade – very unlikely given the disparity in the share of the rent that City would expect and what the Bulls could realistically offer – or even out of the city in Dewsbury are being mooted as talks continue behind the scenes.

Whether it is just grandstanding from the chairman to ruffle their council landlords or something more concrete, it is an unwelcome distraction as the Championship season heads for its climax.

Against this uncomfortable backdrop, the Bulls are still trying to nick into a play-off spot in the final month – a goal that now looks beyond them.

Defeat against all-conquering Toronto leaves them five points adrift of fifth spot with only four to play and surely all but out of it.

But they certainly went down fighting after a pulsating see-saw contest with a team who have now won 17 on the bounce since their solitary loss in Toulouse in round six. The Bulls, who led by 14 at half-time, knew they had taken them all the way.

With the league leaders’ shield already in the can, Toronto are effectively seeing out time until the play-offs begin.

Guaranteed a first-round bye, their next meaningful outing is not until the third week of September.

It is a strange position to be in for Brian McDermott’s men, who won’t want to risk injuries in the play-off countdown – but equally can’t afford to allow intensity levels to drop off.

The Bulls had no such luxury and head coach John Kear had set them the grand task of winning all their remaining games to stay alive in a race that had become effectively beyond their control.

The odds are stacked firmly against them – and that was underlined in some fast and furious early exchanges as the Wolfpack grabbed a fifth-minute lead.

Andy Ackers scooted 30 metres from a quick play-the-ball and Ricky Leutele took advantage to score in the corner.

Leutele had a quickfire second on the other side knocked off for obstruction but the warning signs were flashing.

Toronto had the edge in physicality but blew further scoring chances with errors. The Bulls stayed strong with their discipline – and were rewarded with a sensational response on 18 minutes.

It needed something special to prise open the Wolfpack and Jy Hitchcox delivered with a devastating burst out of defence. Finding a gap, the Aussie winger scorched 80 metres to race in under the posts before Joe Keyes nudged the Bulls in front.

And it soon got even better as Jordan Lilley and Brandon Pickersgill set up Jake Webster to strike. He still had traffic to deal with but simply took Nick Rawsthorne with him as he dragged his way over.

As Odsal rocked, so did the Wolfpack with a third Bulls try in the space of 12 minutes as Steve Crossley crashed over from acting half. Suddenly the hosts were 14 points up and those early concerns seemed a distant memory.

Ethan Ryan showed defensive alertness to stop marauding full back Hakim Miloudi trimming the advantage before the break – every Bulls tackle being greeted enthusiastically by a crowd loving their team’s intensity.

The proliferation of Canadian flags in the main stand gave the occasion a real international feel and there was a buzz about the place that you certainly wouldn’t get sharing at Park Avenue or the Tetley’s Stadium.

The “Let’s go Wolfpack” chant reappeared swiftly after the restart as Toronto bounced back with two tries.

The first came from a mistake by Ryan, who failed to pouch a high kick. It bounced loose into a pack of waiting Toronto shirts and the ball was ferried across for Leutele’s second touchdown.

The impetus was with the leaders and they immediately landed another blow, Ackers causing havoc on the Bulls’ right side before setting up Rawsthorne to finish.

The lead was down to four with half an hour still to play – and soon disappeared altogether as the Wolfpack avalanche continued.

Miloudi was proving an elusive bag of tricks and he was the provider of their third try of the half for winger Liam Kay. The full back’s kick gave Toronto a two-point lead.

The Bulls had been totally starved of possession since the restart and when they did finally get into a threatening position, Webster coughed up the ball under pressure.

Even when a Toronto attack broke down, a cheeky through-the-legs pass from Jon Wilkin teed up Miloudi for a drop goal.

Time was still on Bradford’s side in this epic encounter but inevitably tiredness was starting to creep in.

It was becoming a war of attrition in midfield with both teams looking to force an error – and that came the Bulls’ way with Bodene Thompson lazily lifting James Green in the tackle to concede a penalty. Keyes’ kick cut the gap to a single point with six minutes left.

Lilley tried to level things with a long-range drop but scuffed it badly before Toronto earned some decisive breathing space with a fourth second-half try.

Blake Wallace sent a testing chip to the corner where Rawsthorne got above Hitchcox to claim it and score for the second time.

Ryan’s late fumble effectively ended any chance of a late charge and Miloudi’s fluffed drop-goal attempt against an upright as the hooter sounded made no difference on the outcome.