Bradford Bulls 2003 Grand Final winners – where are they now?

Zach Holland
Lesley Vainikolo Bradford Bulls PA

The 2003 season saw Bradford Bulls further cement their status as one of the most dominant units in rugby league at the time.

Bradford became the first team of the Super League era to finish the season as treble winners, defeating Wigan 25-12 in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

Stuart Reardon, Shontayne Hape and James Lowes all crossed for a try while Reardon himself claimed the Harry Sunderland Trophy.

We take a look at where the Bradford line-up are today… 

FB: Stuart Reardon

Stuart Reardon Bradford Bulls 2003 PA

After a short stint at Salford, Reardon returned to the Bulls for the 2003 season and made the most of his opportunity at the number one position, scoring a try and claiming the man of the match award in the Grand Final. After retiring in 2016, the full-back has now turned his attention to modelling, photography and videography according to his LinkedIn.

WG: Tevita Vaikona

Tevita Vaikona Bradford PA

The former Tonga international was a prolific try scorer during his time at Bradford, scoring 103 tries in 163 appearances for the Bulls between 1998 and 2004. After retiring in 2008, he would go on to work as the director of rugby at Hull RU and then later as the director of sport at Bishop Burton College.

C: Michael Withers

Michael Withers Bradford Bulls PA

Withers was another highly efficient performer on Bradford’s star-studded backline of the early 2000s. Overall, Withers scored 116 tries in 188 appearances and helped the Bulls secure three Super League titles and two Challenge Cups. He even scored a hat-trick in the 2001 Grand Final. According to his LinkedIn, he was notably the assistant coach of Parramatta Under-20s in 2018 and is now the head coach of Hills Bulls in Sydney.

C: Shontayne Hape

Shontayne Hape Bradford Bulls PA

Hape established himself as one of the best centres in rugby league during his time with Bradford between 2003 and 2008, scoring 85 tries in 134 appearances. The former New Zealand international switched codes in 2008 before unfortunately retiring in 2013 due to ongoing concussion issues. Since then, Hape has received his degree in leadership and management and is now an insurance consultant at Evergreen Life in Auckland.

WG: Lesley Vainikolo

Lesley Vainikolo Bradford Bulls PA

One of the most recognisable names of the Super League era as he established himself as one of the league’s most destructive players, scoring 145 tries in 149 appearances for Bradford between 2002 and 2007. According to LinkedIn, ‘The Volcano’ is now director of rugby at Wesley College in New Zealand and he is also the COO of LionFIT Sportswear.

SO: Karl Pratt

Karl Pratt Bradford Bulls PA

The former Featherstone, Leeds and Bradford man was a highly versatile and consistent player during his time in the league. Between 1998 and 2005, Pratt scored 61 tries in 144 appearances and was a key part of the Bradford side that reached three consecutive Grand Finals (2003, 2004 and 2005). As of now, the former Great Britain international is now the commercial manager of Featherstone Rovers.

SH: Paul Deacon

Paul Deacon Bradford Bulls PA

The baby-faced assassin developed a reputation as one of the most efficient points scorers in Super League. Between 1997 and 2014, the half-back tallied over 2,500 points during his time with Oldham, Bradford and Wigan. Following his retirement in 2011, Deacon joined Wigan’s coaching staff before switching codes to rugby union and joining the coaching ranks at Sale Sharks. By 2020, he was promoted to head coach, a position he still holds today.

PR: Joe Vagana

Joe Vagana Bradford Bulls PA

Big Joe was a fan’s favourite during his time at Bradford with his huge motor and work rate second to none. The former New Zealand and Samoa International excelled at Auckland Warriors during the late 1990s before making the move over to Bradford in 2001. Once there, he became vital cog in the Bulls’ formidable forward pack. After retiring in 2008, Vagana is now the director of Machine Lease Ltd in Auckland whilst also helping young people find pathways into work with his REACHES Youth Mentoring Trust according to his LinkedIn.

HK: James Lowes

James Lowes Bradford Bulls PA

The former Hunslet, Leeds and Bradford dummy-half put together a highly productive and successful career and is seen as one of the best hookers of the modern era. However, his best years would come at the Bulls where he helped them reach four Grand Finals in five years from 1999 to 2003. From July 2021, Lowes was the director of rugby at West Park RU after taking up coaching roles with Warrington, Bradford and Leeds as well Yorkshire Carnegie in rugby union.

PR: Stuart Fielden

Stuart Fielden Bradford Bulls PA

Fielden made more than 370 appearances in the Super League with Bradford, Wigan and Huddersfield. Between 1998 and 2013, he won four Super League titles (three with Bradford and one with Wigan) on top being a part of two Challenge Cup winning squads with the Bulls. As of today, he now works as a pastoral and has launched Fielden Fitness after acquiring his personal training qualifications.

SR: Daniel Gartner

Daniel Gartner Bradford Bulls PA

The former Manly and Bradford second-rower proved to be a decent try scorer at his position, scoring 66 tries in 222 appearances for both clubs. He won a Premiership with the Seas Eagles before going on to win two Super League title wins with the Bulls. Post rugby league, Gartner is now a trained physiotherapist after graduating from Sydney University in 2007 and now works at Shore Physiotherapy in Northern Beaches. On top of that, he was also a physio for Manly’s junior sides.

SR: Jamie Peacock

Jamie Peacock Bradford Bulls PA

Peacock is one of the most fearsome performers to ever step on a rugby league pitch and is by in large one of the most highly accomplished players to ever grace the game, with a total of nine Super League titles, four Challenge Cups, five League Leaders’ Shields and a Man of Steel Award to his name. Since retirement, he was the head of rugby at Hull KR between 2016 and 2018. After receiving his MBA in business administration he is now a motivational speaker on top of running the Building Champions mentoring programme.

LF: Mike Forshaw

Mike Forshaw Bradford Bulls PA

A smart, dependable and consistent performer throughout his 17 years in the league and one of the game’s truest professionals. Between 1997 and 2003, he was a prominent feature throughout the Bulls’ glory years, featuring in four Grand Finals. By 2004, he announced his retirement and is another one of Bradford’s treble winning squad to turn to coaching. In 2013, he joined rugby union side Sale Sharks as their defence coach and he remains in the role today.

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Leon Pryce

Leon Pryce Bradford Bulls PA

In a career spanning more than 15 years, Pryce was an extremely versatile back and cemented himself as one of Super League’s great try scorers as well as one of its most decorated players. A total of 194 tries in 482 appearances, four Super League titles and six Challenge Cups with Bradford, St. Helens, Hull FC and Catalans speaks for itself. After retiring in 2017, Pryce went on to coach Workington in 2018 before becoming on Channel 4 and Premier Sports.

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Robbie Hunter-Paul

Robbie Paul Bradford Bulls PA

Hunter-Paul was nothing short of a vital component to the Bulls’ dominance throughout that time and is arguably one of the best number sevens to grace the league. The former Kiwi international made over 300 appearances and scored 170 tries whilst winning several accolades and trophies between 1994 and 2010. Since retirement, he has been a consistent face for BBC’s coverage of rugby league and is now managing director of Xtra Mile Marketing.

Lee Radford

Lee Radford Bradford Bulls PA

Radford made over 300 career appearances for both Hull FC and Bradford and featured in four straight Grand Finals for the Bulls (2003-2005) and the Airlie Birds (2006). The former England international went on to coach Hull FC and guided them to two straight Challenge Cup titles and he is now head coach of Castleford.

Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson Bradford Bulls PA

Anderson was the true definition of a workhorse and was a fan’s favourite during his time at both Bradford Bulls and St Helens. The former prop forward was again another member of this squad who went into coaching and he is now head coach of the England Knights.

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