Paul ready for Bradford return

Robbie Paul is looking forward to renewing old friendship and rivalry when his Leigh side travel to Bradford in the Challenge Cup this weekend.

The match sees Paul makes a sentimental return to Bradford, for whom he played a starring role in five Challenge Cup finals, with his new club, in-form Co-operative Championship title-chasers Leigh.

Paul last played at Grattan Stadium last September as a member of the Salford team thrashed 44-18 in Engage Super League and admits he thought that match was his last at the famous old stadium.

“I never expected to play again at Odsal but it will be great to go back,” he said. “Bradford will always be very close to my heart because I had 12 successful years at the club.

“There are only a handful of players still around who were team-mates in my last season as a Bull in 2005 with Andy Lynch and Jamie Langley the only real survivors.”

Paul has played in six Challenge Cup finals – five for Bradford and one with Huddersfield – winning two.

His elder brother Henry was man of the match when Bradford beat Leeds 24-16 at Murrayfield in 2000 while he picked up the Lance Todd Trophy for his hat-trick in the Bulls’ 40-32 defeat by St Helens in 1996.

Even though Paul will be making another trip down Nostalgia Lane, the Bradford trip isn’t the tie he would have chosen.

“I’d have liked to have been paired with the Bulls but at home,” he said. “We would have had our best ever crowd but will just have to go to Odsal to pull off one of the competition’s biggest ever shocks.

“There’s always unpredictability in sport and surprises can happen but I wish we’d been playing them earlier in the season before Bradford’s new half-backs Matt Orford and Brett Kearney had settled in.

“They have hit top form recently and clearly it’s going to be a tough one for us.”

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