Matt Orford has called on Bradford fans to turn out in force when the Bulls face arch-rivals Leeds Rhinos at Grattan Stadium on Sunday.
Orford got his first taste of the big West Yorkshire derby in April and witnessed at first hand the part the Leeds supporters played in their club’s fight back when the Engage Super League defending champions came from 16-6 behind to draw 20-20 at Headingley.
The former Manly half-back said: “It’s huge that we get a massive crowd. We hope that the Bradford fans will outnumber the Leeds fans and give that atmosphere needed to give us that extra lift. When you’re on the back foot in a game, the crowd can get behind you and spur you on. So it’s massively important that the Bulls fan turn up in their numbers. My first derby was everything I expected. Leeds have a very vocal and passionate crowd and gave a fair indication of what local derbies are about.”
Despite having to settle for a share of the spoils, Orford was quick to acknowledge the grit and determination shown by Leeds and acknowledges that the Bulls are in for another tough challenge on Sunday.
“It was disappointing and would have been nice to score a few more points, but to Leeds’s credit, they never gave up. They didn’t win all those titles to just give in,” said Orford. We learnt a good lesson in that we must control the games more when they get tight but both teams have grown since then and are playing better football. It’ll be a tough match and the forwards will need to do a great job. They have dangers all over the park in McGuire, Sinfield and Buderus and we need to make sure we do all our things right and if we get in front, we have to make sure we control the game.”
Bradford head into the game in fourth place in the Engage Super League and despite their recent run of form, Orford knows that they must be at their best to maintain their place in the top three.
The 32-year old said: “I think it’s clear to see that the competition is going to be very tight this year. St Helens got beat last week after a good run of results.
“Momentum is a very important thing and we can take a great deal of confidence from our last two games. We have had a few games Got a few injuries but the guys coming in have done a good job. But we’re focused on Leeds and we can’t look further than that really.”