JORDAN Lilley says it is a “massive honour” to be named as Bradford Bulls’ joint vice-captain for 2022, admitting he did not expect to be handed this chance at just 25.

The scrum-half will take on the role alongside Rhys Evans for the new season, the first time he has been handed a leadership role since his amateur days at Stanningley.

He will get his first chance to showcase that new-found senior status when the Bulls host Batley at Odsal on Sunday.

A delighted Lilley said: “It’s a massive honour and reward, as I’ve never had that sort of title before in any team.

“To get the vice-captaincy accolade and be a leader in this team is huge, and I’m really chuffed that John (Kear) sees me as one.

“I was buzzing when he told me I’d be vice-captain during the off-season along with Rhys, and it’s a massive achievement for me.”

Lilley has always been a vocal player on the pitch, and asked if this was the kind of role he’d always wanted, he said: “I used to captain Stanningley, but that was obviously at a much different level.

“I have always been a vocal character, even though I’m only small, and I try to add a big presence when I go out on to the field.

“It’s a job I’ve always wanted (vice-captaincy or captaincy), and I hoped I could get there one day, but I wasn’t necessarily expecting it by the age of 25.”

Lilley often praised his half-back partner Danny Brough last season, and said the veteran allowed him to focus on his running game by directing proceedings from stand-off.

But the 38-year-old retired due to medical advice in the off-season, meaning Lilley no longer has his mentor alongside him.

But he does have former Super League star Dec Patton in the halves with him now.

That is great news according to Lilley, who said: “I think Dec is the perfect replacement for Danny.

“Ideally it would have been all three of us playing here this season, but that wasn’t to be and Dec has fitted in really well.

“Danny had a huge amount of experience, but Dec has history in Super League too and he’s still a Super League-quality player.

“Danny’s presence in the halves freed me up, as he used to like to control the play, which allowed me to focus on my running game.

“But with Dec in the team now, I think it will be pretty much the same as last year.

“He likes to dictate the game too, and it means I’m not having to worry about certain things, like making the right kick on the last tackle.

“Dec can do all of that generally, and like with Danny, that will allow me to express myself.”