Bradford Bulls plot raid of Championship rivals for former star with more targets identified

Aaron Bower
Joe Keyes Halifax Panthers

Bradford Bulls are lining up a move to bring Halifax Panthers half-back Joe Keyes back to the club in 2025, Love Rugby League has learned – with more of the Panthers’ players also on their radar.

Keyes spent four seasons with the Bulls between 2016 and 2019, and briefly returned to the club in 2021 for a short-term stint on loan while with Hull Kingston Rovers.

And Love Rugby League has learned that Keyes has once again emerged as a target for the Bulls as they piece together their plans for next season.

He signed a one-year deal to extend his stay with Halifax into 2024 at the end of last year, but a parting of the ways between the two parties now looks likely at the conclusion of the current Championship campaign.

Keyes is in his third season with Fax, and remains a key figure of their squad this season under Liam Finn. But he now looks set to move across West Yorkshire and back to Odsal with Bradford if a deal can be agreed.

He may not be the only Halifax player to make the move between the divide of the two bitter rivals, either – with Love Rugby League of the understanding that at least two more members of Fax’s first-team squad are being lined up as possible targets by the Bulls.

The Bulls have been active in the recruitment market this week, extending Jayden Okunbor’s loan from Hull FC for another four weeks while also announcing the signing of Max Lehmann from Brisbane Tigers on a deal until the end of the season.

Head coach Eamon O’Carroll has also signed a one-year contract extension to keep him at Odsal until at least the end of the 2027 season – and Keyes is being lined up as a major target to head up the Bulls’ attack in 2025.

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