JORDAN Lilley has admitted it was agonising to miss crucial games this year, while suggesting the lengthy absence of his fellow half-back Danny Brough cost Bulls dearly in some mid-season fixtures.

Lilley was banned for the first two competitive games of the season, heavy defeats to Featherstone and Sheffield, while he missed big summer matches with fractured ribs.

Brough fared even worse, with the torn bicep the veteran suffered against Newcastle in early June ruling him out until late August.

On himself, Lilley said: “I missed some key games and having to endure that was tough.

“I’m someone who hates being sat on the sideline, as I’m a team player who likes to help my teammates in the heat of the battle.

“With my ribs, I should have been out for five or six weeks, but I felt okay after three, so I made the call to come back and play against Halifax at the start of August.

“I consider myself a selfless person who does things for the team.

“That may be my downfall sometimes, but it’s the way I am, I just want to help everyone else.”

Brough’s presence, and experience, undoubtedly helped Bulls out when he was on the field this season, but that was not as often as everyone would have liked.

Lilley said: “It was tough not having Danny alongside me to help at times this season.

“Nine times out of 10 this season, when it was me playing with him, or Joe Keyes, we got the win or got very close to doing so.

“You want that dynamism in the halves on either side, and then combining with your full-back, you can become a triangle threat which is hard to defend against.

“But when you’ve only got one natural half-back and one that isn’t, it makes the former’s job harder.

“If we’d had two all year, we may not have lost a couple of games, and ended up in a better position.

“But it is what it is and you have to play with the cards you get dealt.”

For once though, the Brough and Lilley partnership struggled in Bradford’s Championship play-off quarter-final defeat at Batley.

The latter conceded: “It was tough day at the office. We threw bits and bobs at them but it wasn’t enough.

“We were a bit impatient at times and them holding us up over the line four or five times got to us.

“We had so much possession in the second half, but struggled to get over, so credit to Batley for that.”