Jordan Lilley wants Bradford Bulls back in Super League by the time the deal he’s just signed comes to an end in 2026, saying that without that ambition being there from both himself and the club, he wouldn’t have put pen to paper on an extension.
A product of the notoriously successful Leeds Rhinos academy, Lilley first linked up with the Bulls as a loanee in 2017, and the Bramley-born man eventually made the permanent move to Odsal in 2019.
Versatile, the 26-year-old is naturally a half-back, but has already featured as a full-back and in the forward pack as a hooker this year.
With over 100 appearances racked up for the Bulls already, he now signs on for another three years, with the side sat 5th in the Championship looking to cement a play-off spot as we enter the business end of the season.
Jordan Lilley on ‘burning desire’ to help Bulls back to Super League
Three-time Grand Final winners Bradford were relegated from the top tier for the first time in 40 years back in 2014 amidst a whirlwind of financial issues which continued on into their time in the Championship.
The Bulls haven’t returned since, coming closest in 2016 when they lost out to Wakefield Trinity in the first-ever Million Pound Game. Last year, they finished outside the play-off spots in the second tier.
Lilley however hasn’t had his ambitions dampened any, as he told the club’s website. He said: “The effort and desire to push Bradford towards Super League is something that keeps me here for the next 3 years, that is the ultimate goal and I wouldn’t have signed if that wasn’t the ambition, that is my burning desire and I will do everything I can.
“I am delighted, everyone can see how much I love this club and love being here, it is something I wanted to get across the line for a while now and we finally have so it’s very positive.
“We have made some good signings and continue to make them, the vision when I spoke to Eamon [O’Carroll], Lee [Greenwood] and Nobby [Brian Noble] regarding how they want us to play, where they see me playing, it fit in line with how I see it and how I want to play.
“The fans are massive and people take it for granted, the support we have is unbelievable, the fans are one of the reasons I have signed the three-year-deal, I love what the deal offers and with the fans, they are massive for the lads.”
Sliding doors at Odsal
Lilley puts pen to paper on his new deal at Odsal with the knowledge that from 2024, there will be another new face in the dugout.
Current Catalans Dragons assistant – and former Ireland international – Eamon O’Carroll is set to take the reins next year, with Lee Greenwood in interim charge of the side at present following the departure of Mark Dunning earlier on in 2023. Dunning ad been brought in as John Kear’s successor, but registered a win percentage of just 41.9% in his short spell in charge.
O’Carroll will be Lilley’s fifth head coach at the Bulls, and is thrilled to have him on board for the start of another new era at the club.
The incoming boss said: “We are delighted to retain a player of Jordan’s quality. He is a well respected member of the squad and over the next 3 years he will play a really pivotal role in what we do on and off the field.
“After speaking to Jordan on a number of occasions it’s clear he has a deep knowledge of the game, a love for our club and a team first attitude having played a number of positions when needed.
“I look forward to working with him and the rest of the staff in helping him secure a pivotal role in our spine. This is a hugely important retention for us.”