Three-quarter Ryan Shaw has agreed a deal to become Bradford Bulls' seventh new signing for next season, taking head coach James Lowes' 2015 roster to 21.
The talented youngster began the year as a Warrington Wolves player before departing for Barrow Raiders, where he has gone on to score nine tries in 25 appearances for the Kingstone Press Championship outfit.
Goal-kicker Shaw, who today penned a one-year contract at the Provident Stadium, has previously enjoyed spells with London Broncos, Castleford Tigers, Leigh Centurions and Swinton Lions.
And the former England Academy star is planning on making a name for himself in Bulls colours.
“This is a massive opportunity for me to really prove myself and kick on. I have signed for the next 12 months but want to ensure a much longer stay. The only way I will be able to do that is by earning another contract through hard work. I am very committed to that and want to be a part of the side for years to come.
“I prefer to play in the centres but have experience across the backline, so am able to offer the club a level of versatility. I can play all across the backline which gives me a better opportunity to get in the team. I picked up a lot during my time with Warrington and have enjoyed a taste of Super League, which I want to experience again. With the way the Bradford squad is shaping up for next year, it looks as though we will have the tools to more than compete for promotion – and that is the aim.
Lowes, who coached the Barrow-born talent during his time with the Wolves, says Shaw has the potential to make huge inroads next term. Shaw will only add to the growing competition in Bradford's 2015 new-look backline, according to the Bulls boss – who is delighted to have secured the Cumbrian's services.
“Ryan is a young, up and coming talent who I know very well. He was just coming into the junior ranks when I was at Warrington, so I know what he is capable of bringing to the party.
“Ryan has bags of potential. He is very quick, knows his way to the line and can kick goals. I believe he has all the tools.
“We are starting to build some real strength in depth within the backs and, for Ryan, it is now all about hitting the ground running and making the most of his ability.”
Bradford have continued their preparations for life in the Championship by re-signing former Warrington utility player Matty Blythe and confirming the departure of wingers Elliot Kear and Luke George.
Kear, 25, a Welsh international, has spent the last three seasons with the Bulls after joining them from Crusaders while George, 26, moved to Bradford from Huddersfield a year ago.
Blythe, 25, who has signed a new two-year contract, is the 14th player to be retained by the relegated Bulls and, with six confirmed signings so far, takes coach James Lowes' squad numbers for 2015 to 20.
I am over the moon to be staying and, in truth, wanted to stay all along.
There were offers elsewhere and it came down to a choice of Bradford Bulls or a Super League club but I had no intentions of walking away.
I love being here and want to achieve something special as a Bradford player.
The club has done a fantastic job in keeping the bulk of our current squad together for next year, which only made my decision easier.
Blythe spent seven seasons at Warrington, including a spell under Lowes as head coach.
I am delighted Matty has decided to crack on with us next year. He is a selfless player who always gives 110 per cent, bringing masses of enthusiasm to the team. There is no doubt he will be a key figure for us next year. One of his key attributes is his versatility. Matty can play just about anywhere and do a fantastic job. That will be priceless for us next season.
Bradford Bulls have announced that utility star Matty Blythe, 25, has today put pen to paper on a new two-year deal with the club, meaning he will be a Bull until at least the end of 2016.
The versatile back or forward has featured on the wing, at centre, full-back, second row and loose forward this year, making 16 appearances.
“I am over the moon to be staying and, in truth, wanted to stay all along,” said Blythe.
“There were offers elsewhere and it came down to a choice of Bradford Bulls or a Super League club, but I had no intentions of walking away.
“I love being here and want to achieve something special as a Bradford player.
“The club has done a fantastic job in keeping the bulk of our current squad together for next year, which only made my decision easier.
“Seeing some fairly big names commit their futures to the Bulls is, in my opinion, a massive state of intent by the board of directors.
“Everyone wants to be a part of what could be a fantastic season and we look forward to getting preparations underway later this year.”
Blythe was reunited with one-time Warrington Wolves boss Lowes when the former Bradford hooker took over the coaching reins at the Provident Stadium, back in June.
Blythe, who enjoyed a loan spell in the sport's second tier with Leigh Centurions, back in 2010, worked under the 1997 Man of Steel while plying his trade at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, where he spent almost seven years.
“I am delighted Matty has decided to crack on with us next year,” said head coach Lowes.
“He is a selfless player who always gives 110 per-cent, bringing masses of enthusiasm to the team.
“Matty likes to carry the ball and he is a strong runner. There is no doubt he will be a key figure for us next year.
“One of his key attributes is his versatility. Matty can play just about anywhere and do a fantastic job. That will be priceless for us next season.”
Meanwhile, Bradford Bulls can today confirm that both Luke George and Elliot Kear will leave the club at the end of the season.
Leeds Rhinos' head coach Brian McDermott says the game is losing one of its characters as Matt Diskin announced his retirement from the game.
The current Bradford Bulls captain had nine seasons at Headingley but left the season before McDermott took charge.
Chris Dawkes asked the Rhinos boss about Diskin's exit from the game:
Bradford Bulls captain Matt Diskin has announced he will retire at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old former Great Britain and England international has made 364 appearances for club, county and country, in a career spanning 14 years.
Dewsbury-born hooker Diskin turned professional as a Leeds Rhino, making his first-team debut in 2001, and went on to win four Super League titles with the Headingley club.
He was named man of the match in the 2004 Grand Final, claiming the Harry Sunderland Trophy as the Rhinos overcame Bradford at Old Trafford, and was crowned a World Club Challenge winner in 2008.
Diskin has made a total of 86 appearances for the Bulls, having arrived at the Provident Stadium in 2010, and has skippered the side for the past three seasons.
His representative honours include three Yorkshire, three England and seven England A caps, in addition to a solitary Great Britain appearance.
I have enjoyed a wonderful career, one which I would have happily completed for free.
I am extremely proud of what I have achieved in the game and, not being the most naturally-gifted player, I have done this through sheer hard work and determination.
Winger Danny Williams has today agreed a permanent contract to become the nineteenth addition to Bradford Bulls' 2015 roster.
The 27-year-old has put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the Bulls, confirming his departure from parent club Salford Red Devils.
Having initially arrived at the Provident Stadium on a short-term loan deal, Williams will be a Bradford player until at least the end of 2016.
“I was really excited about coming to Bradford to begin with, so am obviously delighted to be extending my stay.
“This is a club with big ambitions for the future and I want to be a part of what is eventually achieved here.
“I love working with James Lowes and am excited about what the next couple of years could bring.
“I am happy with how I have performed since joining the Bulls but, most importantly, I am happy to be part of this team.
“With the way the squad is shaping up for next year, I think our supporters can be confident of us making an immediate return to Super League.
“I fully intend to keep fit and find my very best form in order to help ensure that happens."
Williams, who has previously played for Leeds, Castleford and Hull and had a stint in rugby union with Newcastle Falcons, arrived as James Lowes' first addition in July.
And the Bulls boss says he is delighted to have secured the three-quarter's services – on a permanent basis.
“Danny is a very experienced player, who has age on his side.
“I am really pleased that the deal has gone through, as I feel Danny provides good competition out wide.
“I am looking forward to working with him during pre-season training and going into next year, where he could prove fairly key for us.
“Wherever he has gone in the past, he has always worked extremely hard and that is what I like about him. His attitude is first class.”
Meanwhile, Bradford Bulls have also confirmed that Jamie Foster will be leaving the club at the end of the season.
Relegated Bradford have announced the re-signing of promising teenagers Alex Mellor, Nathan Conroy, Sam Bates and Adam Brook ahead of their Championship campaign in 2015.
Back-row forward Mellor and hooker Conroy, both 19, have signed new 12-month deals, while 18-year-old prop Bates and 19-year-old half-back Brook have secured two-year contracts.
Mellor has made nine substitute Super League appearances over the last two years and is tipped by Bulls coach James Lowes for a bright future.
Alex is an exceptional young player who has risen through the club's academy ranks in recent years. He has all of the attributes and potential to become a key player here.
Relegated Bradford Bulls have announced the signing of 20-year-old hooker Vila Halafihi on a 12-month deal.
The Hull-born former Leeds academy player, who is the son of former Hull KR Sheffield and London forward Nick Halafihi, has spent the last twelve months in Sydney playing for Penrith Panthers' Under-20s side.
"I am a massive Bradford Bulls fan so feel absolutely privileged to have signed for such a great club. Bradford was the first team I ever supported and I want to play a part in helping return the club to its former glory." said Vila Halafihi
Former Great Britain centre Chev Walker has agreed a new 12-month contract with relegated Bradford.
Walker, 31, who played for Leeds and Hull KR before arriving at the Provident Stadium in 2010, is the seventh player to be retained for the Bulls' Championship campaign in 2015 and, with several additions, takes coach James Lowes' squad up to 13.
For me, firstly, it is a matter of paying the club back for the faith showed in me to begin with. And, secondly, it is about helping Bradford back into Super League - where they belong. I have already declared how much I love the place and am looking forward to what should be an exciting journey.
Walker, who now plays in the pack, has been out for a month with a hand injury but is hoping to make a return to action before the end of the season.
Before picking up his hand injury, Chev had certainly found some form and was looking really good. Chev is a very strong individual who offers our team a huge amount and it is great to have him secured for next season. He is vastly experienced and has performed at the top of the sport in a number of different scenarios. He will act as a real leader for us next year, guiding some of our younger recruits in what will be an exciting, yet challenging Championship campaign.
Forward James Donaldson has become the latest player from relegated Bradford to secure his Super League future by signing a two-year deal with Hull KR.
The 22-year-old second rower will link up with the Robins in November and becomes their fourth new recruit for 2015 following the addition of Wigan centre Darrell Goulding and overseas duo Ken Sio and Josh Mantellato.
Rovers coach Chris Chester said: "James is exactly the sort of player that we want to bring to the club in that he is young, hungry and works very hard at his game.
"He's got a good engine on him, he plays big minutes and he doesn't miss many tackles so he'll be a great fit for us."
A former England schoolboy international, Cumbria-born Donaldson has racked up close to 70 Super League appearances for the Bulls since making his debut in 2009.
"I feel like I've progressed a lot over the last few years but I know I've got a lot more to give and I feel the best place to do that is at Hull Kingston Rovers," he said.
"I've been at Bradford for seven years now and I needed a new challenge. I'm ready to be taken out of my comfort zone and hopefully something fresh will spark me up.
"I'll be working with new players, new coaches and new ideas, it's a totally
clean start for me to come here and I can't wait for it."
Donaldson is the fourth Bradford player to confirm his departure following their relegation to the Championship. Manase Manuokafoa is staying in Super League with Widnes, while Jamal Fakir and Brett Kearney are returning to France and Australia respectively.