Bradford Bulls have announced the arrival of Super League half-back Lee Gaskell on a permanent deal until the end of the 2024 season – having seen off significant competition for his signature.
The 32-year-old will don the red, amber and black for a second time following three-year spell at the club between 2014 and 2016.
The experienced half-back, who has made over 230 career appearances, has since enjoyed spells at Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity and will boost the Bulls’ ranks heading into the second half of the season.
Gaskell insists the ambition of the club appealed to him – admitting the challenge of pushing for promotion excites him as he joins his team-mates five games unbeaten.
“It is a massive honour to be here again, I really enjoyed my time here last time and I played some of the best rugby in my career… I feel I have unfinished business here and I am looking forward to it again,” said Gaskell.
“I have got to do what I feel is right and makes me happy and as soon as my agent said Bradford were interested and I spoke to Nobby [Brian Noble] and others at the club, it is a team moving forward, doing great things behind the scenes and also the lads on the pitch now five unbeaten.
“It is a really good chance for me to come here and work hard to earn a position in the team as there are some really talented players… hopefully I can earn a spot and lead the boys around and be someone they can turn to in tough situations through my experience, I am really looking forward to it.
“There are high ambitions here and that’s one of the reasons I came, there were other offers but being at Bradford again really appealed to me, we have a shot with this team and quality to push for promotion and that is one of the things that appealed to me. I have unfinished business and the challenge excites me.
“I remember the Bradford fans at the Summer Bash’s and making every game like a home game, they are still the same, very loyal fans who deserve more and hopefully we can pay them back, get more numbers in and get a buzz around the town, have a big push around the play offs and see what happens.
Football Consultant Brian Noble has hailed Gaskell’s capture as a ‘real coup’ – who he highlights as a ‘quality acquisition’ who will bolster the Bulls in the short, medium and long term.
“It is a real coup – we had a lot of competition for Lee’s signature and it is a measure of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes here at every level. Lee is a quality player, a Super League standard acquisition and the kind of person we need right now, I am absolutely thrilled and he will add a lot to this team.
“Quality acquisitions is what we are about if we can get them, offensively he is very good, he knows how to play, knows what he wants to do, puts points on the board and makes passes. He is a big body, a big human but first and foremost a good bloke, we have signed a good character who will help the Bulls for the short, medium and long term.
“It is the time of year when everyone is ramping up, we are still growing and Lee coming in helps with that growth, there is lots of improvement still in all of our players and come end of the season with a bit of luck and a fair wind we can play a part.
“We are still taking it one game at a time, still introducing people and we will introduce more people, it is really positive and we have a tough challenge this weekend in Toulouse who are unbeaten at home but we are really looking forward to it and are really positive.”