IT HAS been a new rivalry in the making for Bulls, and while it can never come close to those ding-dong battles of days gone by against Leeds, matches with York rarely disappoint.

Both came together for the first time in 2018, York's fifth consecutive season in the third tier of rugby league, and Bulls' first, following liquidation then relegation from the Championship in 2017.

And the pair have been the one constant in each other's lives ever since, getting promoted together in 2018, before having a failed play-off campaign each.

It had been John Kear versus James Ford the whole time too, though the former left Bulls by mutual consent last month, so it will be Mark Dunning in the Bulls dugout this weekend.

And it was Kear's first competitive game at the Bulls helm that set the tone.

FEBRUARY 2018 - YORK 20 BULLS 22

A chaotic season opener went Bulls' way at Bootham Crescent, as despite them going behind early to a converted try from former Bradford man Kieren Moss, they hit back with scores from Ashley Gibson, Elliot Minchella and Steve Crossley to establish a 16-8 lead with 30 minutes to go.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ashley Gibson goes over to score early on against York. Picture: Tom Pearson.Ashley Gibson goes over to score early on against York. Picture: Tom Pearson.

But Joe Batchelor's two tries helped level the scores at 18-apiece with 15 minutes left, before a Connor Robinson drop goal edged York ahead.

A Joe Keyes penalty and then another Robinson drop goal saw the scores locked at 20-20 with two minutes remaining.

But in front of a bumper crowd of over 4,000, Bulls were awarded a penalty for the York defence not standing straight.

Keyes was miles out, but he held his nerve, and nailed his kick to spark wild away celebrations.

JULY 2018 - BULLS 28 YORK 30

Bulls knew if they won this game at Odsal they would have one hand on the title.

But they made a disastrous start, with York 24-0 up after less than half-an-hour, thanks to tries from Joshua Johnson, Ben Cockayne, Judah Mazive and Joe Porter, as well as four successful kicks at goal from Robinson.

But Dalton Grant's score just before the break gave Bulls a glimmer of hope, before three converted tries in five second half minutes courtesy of Gregg McNally, Ross Peltier and Ethan Ryan brought the house down, as Bulls closed the gap to two points.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ross Peltier went over for this try, but Bulls fell just short in their comeback. Picture: Tom Pearson.Ross Peltier went over for this try, but Bulls fell just short in their comeback. Picture: Tom Pearson.

Mazive's second try put a dampener on things, before Dane Chisholm nailed a penalty, with Keyes off the field having suffered a nasty concussion.

Grant then scored again to bring Bulls within two, but Chisholm could not land the extras, as the hosts fell just short of a superb comeback draw.

JULY 2019 - YORK 25 BULLS 24

Another thriller at Bootham Crescent, and a crucial two points for York, as they ended up in the play-offs with Bulls just missing out.

Ryan went over for an early score and had a second controversially ruled out for allegedly stepping over the dead-ball line, before Will Oakes' double put York 14-4 up.

Ryan did get his second before the break, and a third helped pull Bulls level.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ethan Ryan (right) scored a stunning hat-trick at York in 2019, but Bulls still lost by a point. Picture: Tom Pearson.Ethan Ryan (right) scored a stunning hat-trick at York in 2019, but Bulls still lost by a point. Picture: Tom Pearson.

But York quickly re-opened that 10-point gap as Perry Whiteley crossed twice, before Ross Oakes and Jy Hitchcox, with the help of a Keyes conversion, made it even once more.

Jordan Lilley's winning drop goal attempt hit the post, but Liam Harris nailed his, as York stole the game at the last.

MAY 2021 - BULLS 37 YORK 18

The sides didn't get to face off in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, but this was a special day, as York became the first visitors to Odsal after Bulls had moved out nearly two years earlier.

This was Bulls’ sixth win of seven in a row and there was a party atmosphere among the crowd, allowed to return post-Covid restrictions.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Bulls fans enjoying their return to Odsal, which they marked with a brilliant win over York. Picture: Tom Pearson.The Bulls fans enjoying their return to Odsal, which they marked with a brilliant win over York. Picture: Tom Pearson.

With loanees like Ashton Golding, Olly Wilson and Ellis Robson featuring, it was arguably Bulls’ strongest squad of last season.

And with Golding on the scoresheet, along with tries for Lilley, Oakes and a double for Joe Brown, as well as nine successful goal attempts from Danny Brough, Bulls blew away a side that usually caused them no end of trouble.

AUGUST 2021 - YORK 18 BULLS 36

This result was a superb one, and confirmed Bulls' place in the end of season play-offs, before a miserable September saw them lose four in a row and bow out in the quarter-finals.

The only real dampener was a broken thumb for Matty Dawson-Jones, as a Rhys Evans hat-trick saw Bulls roar to victory.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Rhys Evans' superb hat-trick proved the difference the last time Bulls faced York. Picture: Tom Pearson.Rhys Evans' superb hat-trick proved the difference the last time Bulls faced York. Picture: Tom Pearson.

Bulls found themselves 24-6 up three minutes after the break, before a couple of converted tries by York threatened to make the game interesting.

But Bradford finished with a flourish, as late tries from David Foggin-Johnston and Evans saw them coast to a fine away win.