THE future is bright for Bradford Bulls and the club's crop of rising stars after the sport's governing body deemed its Academy one of the best in Super League.
An independent Academy Accreditation panel have recently assessed the Bulls' youth system, as part of a nationwide review, and results show that Bradford's is Yorkshire's finest.
The process saw the club's Academy, which is headed up by Richard Tunningley, reviewed across four key areas: Achievements of the system, quality of leadership and management, how well academies meet the needs of players and the delivery of the Player Development system.
Results show the Bulls boast the fifth best academy in Super League and the leading one in the county, with the club scoring a 'good' (2) overall assessment – and 'outstanding' (1) system achievements.
A spokesperson for the Rugby Football League (RFL) said: “The Bulls continue to have an outstanding player production supply and they are continually producing high number of players for Super League and England.
“There is an ethos – from the top down – to make sure the club's Academy remains the mainstay of their focus.
“Despite off-field issues, that have now been resolved, the club has continued to perform as an Academy.
“This is due to the continued investment in training and playing facilities and the dedication of committed and experienced staff, using well-proven structures and systems.”
Bradford have a proud history of producing world-class players, who have gone on to enjoy hugely successful careers.
The likes of Stuart Fielden, Jamie Peacock and Paul Deacon experienced unrivalled success, while more recent graduates – including Sam Burgess, Elliott Whitehead and John Bateman continue to star at the very highest level.
Since the start of the 2013 season, there have been no less than six academy players making their senior bows in the red, amber and black of Bradford.
And Head of Youth Tunningley insists the club will strive to ensure high standards are maintained and further improved in the years ahead.
“We are really happy with the results of the RFL’s Academy assessment,” said Tunningley, who joined the club last year.
“We have worked hard in order to maintain what the RFL deem a 'good' academy, which produces results and players of a high standard.
“We are continually planning for the future, looking to create the new and exciting breed of Bulls talents, while nurturing what we currently boast.
“Regardless of the club’s relegation, we are deemed to have one of the best academies in Super League – which will continue to operate at the top level in 2015 – but we want to grow it even further and break into the so-called 'top four'.
"Most importantly, both in terms of recruitment and future development, we boast the leading Academy in Yorkshire, which is very pleasing.
“We will forever attempt to compete with the sport’s elite, at both academy and senior level.”
The Bulls' Academy results were improved on the high grades achieved in 2013.