NEW Bradford Bulls Women head coach Shaun Flynn has been thrown in at the deep end, with the Super League side about to compete for the end of season Shield.

But having replaced Mark Seal this week, who left the club for personal reasons, Flynn is feeling confident, and reckons his team only have one real competitor.

He said: "The aim is to win the (lesser) Shield this year, and make sure we finish top six at least next season.

"There's a lot of young girls in the squad, including a couple of 16-year-olds, and it's a big jump from community level to Super League.

"But on our day, we can beat any of the other four teams in the Shield, and I'd say Featherstone are the only other contender to win it really."

Bulls kick off their Shield campaign, which is played in a round-robin format, with the top two advancing to the final, this coming Tuesday at Huddersfield.

But bigger stages await, with Flynn explaining: "We've had to rearrange the Huddersfield game for midweek and it's being played at Lockwood with only family allowed in to watch.

"We're hoping for a much bigger crowd when we play Warrington and Wakefield later in the Shield, as both of those games are at Odsal, without crowd restrictions.

"It makes a difference to the girls having a big crowd in, as it's not just friends and family, it's other people who want to come and watch.

"Even at some of the neutral grounds this season, decent crowds have come in."

Flynn is delighted with the state of the squad, who have improved markedly as the season has gone on.

Giving credit to his predecessor, he said: "There were a few struggles at the beginning of the year, massive defeats and a few games we should have won but didn't.

"Some of that was inexperience from Mark, but that wasn't his fault, as he was just dropped into the role with Kirsty (Moroney) going.

"But over the season, he, Christian Moorhouse and Chris Ramsden (both of whom will remain as coaches) helped each other out and the side improved.

"Christian has real knowledge of the women's game, from a statistical side, while Chris has loads of rugby union knowledge after 40 years in that code.

"It was a coin toss really for which of the three of them could have been head coach, as none of them had done it at Super League level, and Mark got the nod."

It is Flynn's turn now though, and he is a busy man. He works for the Bradford Bulls Foundation as their Secondary School Development Officer and has been running the club's summer holiday camps to boot.

Asked how he had time to take on the women's head coach role, he said: "It took a couple of weeks to decide whether it was right for me and the Foundation.

"But I've worked closely with Ryan Hunkin and Leigh Beattie with the scholarship sides and I've helped at women's community clubs before like Odsal Sedbergh Sirens.

"This is my first time as head coach of a Women's Super League side though, so it is a step up."