Bradford captain on leader Dec Patton, Jordan Lilley blow & play-off goal

Drew Darbyshire
Dec Patton has joined Bradford ahead of the new season

Dec Patton has joined Bradford from Salford ahead of the new season

Bradford captain Steve Crossley has been impressed with the club’s star signing of Dec Patton in pre-season training as the club targets the play-offs.

Former Warrington half-back Patton made the move to Odsal in the off-season from Super League side Salford on a one-year deal.

Patton, a Challenge Cup winner and Super League Grand Finalist with Warrington, has caught the eye during pre-season training with the Bulls.

Crossley said: “We’ve had a fair turnover of players so we have got a good batch of new players who have come in.

“Dec Patton brings that Super League experience. He’s picked up the man of the match in both trial games we’ve had.

“He brings good leadership with him as well which we could do with more of. He has brought that leadership with him and he has got that Super League experience.”

Dec Patton Bradford
Dec Patton in action for new club Bradford against Hull in a pre-season friendly

Experienced prop Crossley, who will again captain in his hometown club in 2022, is also pleased with the club’s acquisition of former Castleford centre Kieran Gill.

He added: “Kieran Gill, who has been playing in the centres, has brought some real good strike out in the edges.

“I think it was something like 43 tries in 48 games for Newcastle. He got another one for us yesterday as well so he’ll prove to be a good signing.”

Opportunity knocks for Billy Jowitt in absence of Jordan Lilley

Bradford were dealt an injury blow to half-back Jordan Lilley earlier this month. The 25-year-old will miss the next six weeks after sustaining a PCL injury.

Crossley admits it is a blow for the Bulls, but has full faith in youngster Billy Jowitt to make an impact in Lilley’s absence.

He said: “It’s an unfortunate one as we were starting to get into the games. He pulled up with a knee injury with no-one around him, so you knew immediately something was wrong.

“But as big a loss as it is, it gives a chance to young Billy Jowitt who has come in these last two games. Yesterday he had an outstanding game. He rotated between half-back and hooker. We’ve got a couple of young lads who could step up as well; but Billy Jowitt should get a good crack at it before Jordan Lilley makes his return.”

Bulls aiming to go one better in 2022

John Kear’s side finished fifth in the Championship league table at the end of the regular season in 2021. They fell at the first play-off hurdle after a defeat from Batley.

In 2022, the Bulls are aiming to make the play-offs again but this time go one better.

Crossley said: “Bradford we always want to be competing we want to be up there at the top and competing for getting back in Super League. This year is no different.

“Myself as a captain, I always want to stress the history of the club to the new players; and to the young lads coming up and where this club strive to be.

“We’ll be there to compete. We’ll be there hopefully pushing towards the top end, that’s the outcome that we want. Hopefully we’ll make the play-offs again and give a better show of ourselves this year.”

READ MORE: Bradford Bulls reveal 2022 squad numbers