Bradford stay up but hooter sounds for Potter

 

Bradford will still be in Super League next season, but without the coach who has guided them through the crises of the last few months.

The RFL's board of directors has given the Bulls a probationary one-year licence to continue playing in the competition.

The club went into administration in June and was threatened with closure until being taken over by new owners last month.

Those new owners have failed to persuade Mick Potter to stay on. Potter, who coached the Bulls unpaid for several weeks, is returning to Australia.

He has recommended his assistant, Francis Cummins, as his successor and the club plans to make a decision early next week.

Meanwhile, this time last year, Chris Hill can hardly have envisaged being involved in the Super League play-offs this weekend.

The prop forward, then with Leigh in the semi-professional Championship, was even contemplating getting a "proper" job and playing rugby in his spare time.

Hill was briefly on Wigan's books as a teenager before going back to playing as an amateur, He feared that he had missed the boat for playing at the highest level.

"My family and girlfriend have always been very supportive, but I'd reached the point where I'd started to think it wasn't going to happen," he said. "I thought I was going to have to look for another job."

Fortunately for him, the Warrington coach, Tony Smith, had spotted his potential and gave him his Super League opportunity.

Even then, Hill wondered whether he might be going to a club where the competition for front-row places was dauntingly fierce.

Already in the squad were seasoned internationals like Adrian Morley and Garreth Carvell, another prop who had played for his country in Paul Wood, plus a highly rated up-and-comer in Mike Cooper.

In a few months, however, he has battled his way to the front of the queue, with no less a figure than Morley, his captain, describing him as the form prop at the club.

"That means a lot coming from someone like him. I mean – I used to watch him when I was a kid," he said. "When I signed, I didn't think I'd play this much, but it's been a fantastic season for me."

Hill's form at the elite level has won him an array of club awards in his debut season. He was runner-up for the Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year Medal and is in the England Knights squad for the end-of-season international, with every chance of forcing his way into the full Test side.

This evening, he will be part of a Wolves pack that will line up against St Helens, with the winners only 80 minutes away from the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

For the reigning champions Leeds and Wakefield two hours later, it is sudden death, with the Wildcats' coach, Richard Agar, admitting that two months ago he could not have imagined getting this far.

At that stage, Wakefield looked more likely to contest the wooden spoon than a play-off place, but a club record seven wins in a row allowed them to grab eighth place.

"It's been a remarkable story and we're going to Headingley with no illusions, but no fear either," Agar said.

That story began with assembling virtually a new team when Agar was appointed. In key positions, his signings have come up trumps.

The unpredictable Tim Smith has rediscovered his best form at scrum-half, while his partnership with Paul Sykes, on loan from Bradford, has thrived during their winning run.

Agar also expects to have the former Leeds forward, Ali Lauitiiti, available after missing last week with a migraine and believes that his ball-handling ability could be a match-winning quality. "He has that X-factor and, as a team that relies primarily on hard work, we don't have many players like that," he said.

Leeds welcome back a potential match-winner of their own, with the return of Danny McGuire after a four-match absence.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all