Bradford Bulls loose forward Michael Lawrence says he and his teammates are expecting to be in the promotion mix in the Betfred Championship in 2023.
The 32-year-old dropped down a division from the glamorous Betfred Super League to join the Bulls, ending a 16-year association with Huddersfield Giants. Lawrence opted to move to the Bulls in search of more game time in the twilight years of his career, hooking up with the Bulls on a two-year agreement, and he has been adjusting well to his new surroundings.
“I’m settling in really well, I've been there since November now," Lawrence tells The Sportsman. "It was a massive change after being at Huddersfield for 16 years. New kit, new colours and a new start for myself so I’m really looking forward to the year ahead.
St Helens legend Roby looking to go out with a bang in final season
Naiqama hoping his experience can push the Giants up the Super League table
Tim Lafai on falling back in love with Rugby League with Salford Red Devils
“The whole club from top to bottom has been very welcoming. It’s been great so far, they’re a great group of lads and I’m excited for what we can achieve this year.”
Lawrence was part of the Jamaica team that featured in last year’s Rugby League World Cup and he was delighted to have the opportunity to play for his country.
“The World Cup was class, I really enjoyed that and it was probably the highlight of last year for me, getting to play in the World Cup against New Zealand. And any time I get to play with the Jamaica lads it’s class. It’s different to any other team I’ve been involved in, there’s a real sense of family when you play with the Jamaica lads so the World Cup was special. We felt like we were pretty much everyone’s second team.”
The Betfred Championship is a notoriously difficult division to get promoted from but after an nine-year absence from the top flight, the Bulls are shaping up nicely to be in with a chance of making a return to rugby league’s promised land ahead of 2024. The club has experienced some dark times in recent years, having gone into administration on three occasions in 2012, 2014 and 2016, followed by liquidation in 2017.
Six years later and after a brief spell in League One, the club is looking to be in a much healthier position and they are one of the sides to watch out for in the Championship this term.
Speaking about his new team’s chances, Lawrence adds: “I think with the recruitment that we’ve done this year it's really exciting, we’re obviously trying to rebuild the team and the club. There’s a lot of good stuff going on, on and off the field. Heading into the start of the year there’s a real air of excitement and I’m looking forward to trying to deliver on that. As long as we stay fit and play consistently, we expect to be in the mix at the end of the year.”
The Bulls kick-off their Championship campaign with a home clash against Whitehaven on Sunday, with a kick-off time of 3pm.
*18+ BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change