Rugby League


28 Sep 2023

Betfred Championship Play-Off Preview | Bradford Bulls v York Knights

Betfred Championship Play-Off Preview | Bradford Bulls v York Knights

The second Betfred Championship Play-Off contest will see Bradford Bulls host York Knights at Odsal this Sunday at 6:30PM in a game which will be shown live on Viaplay Sports.

Bradford will be on Viaplay for the second consecutive week after defeating Sheffield Eagles at Olympic Legacy Park last Sunday.

A Jordan Lilly drop-goal gave Bradford the two Betfred Championship points, which saw them overtake the Eagles and move up finish the regular season in third place.

Lee Greenwood’s side have won their previous two matches, their last defeat was at home to Sunday’s opponents, York Knights.

The Bulls ended the season with 16 wins and one draw from their 27 Betfred Championship fixtures.

Despite finishing higher than them in the table, Bradford have failed to defeat York in 2023.

Kieran Gill has posed as a key attacking threat for the Bulls this season. Gill ended the campaign with 18 tries, which put him in joint sixth in the Betfred Championship.

The Bulls signed experienced half-back, Lee Gaskell during the season. Gaskell could make his 250th career appearance on Sunday. Gaskell has made 67 for the club, with the majority coming from his first stint at the club between 2014 and 2016.

Two other Bulls could reach milestones during the match. Chester Butler could play his 100th career appearance, 40 of which have been for the West Yorkshire side. Meanwhile, George Flanagan Senior could make his 100th Bradford appearance. Flanagan made his Bulls debut in March 2018, when he scored twice from the bench against the Keighley Cougars.

The third place finish was the highest Bradford had secured for eight years.

York Knights’ late season form saw them snatch the final play-off spot.

Andrew Henderson’s side produced a remarkable run which saw them win 10 of their last 11 matches. The only defeat was to second place Toulouse at the LNER Community Stadium.

The Knights were acknowledged in the nominations for the Betfred Championship Awards. Head Coach, Andrew Henderson, was in the shortlist for Coach of the Year, meanwhile winger, AJ Towse, has been nominated in the Young Player of the Year Category.

The York Head Coach was happy to receive the recognition “It’s always nice to be recognised for the hard work you are putting in with your team. But I have to give a lot of credit to my players, it is the playing group that has managed to come together and understand what we are trying to build here”.

York could be without Myles Harrison, who suffered an injury last weekend away at Barrow. Oli Pratt is also unavailable after being recalled ahead of last weekend’s game by Wakefield Trinity.

This will again see York missing key players, with Henderson saying that the Knights have 17 fit players available.

“You could say we are the underdogs as we aren’t full strength, but we haven’t been all season and we haven’t been on this run in the last 10/11 games” Henderson said “The playing group are in a place at the moment that doesn’t faze us. We know whoever has to play what role has a job and will perform the best they can as a team”.

Conor Fitzsimmons is one appearance away from 150 in his career. Fitzsimmons joined the club at the start of the year and has made 27 appearances for the Knights.

Victory for Bradford will see them travel to Toulouse, meanwhile, a victory for York would see them make the trip across Yorkshire to face Featherstone Rovers.