sport

Bates handed Bulls contract

Sam Bates has signed a two-year deal with the Bradford Bulls, tying him to the club until the end of the 2016 season.

The 18-year-old utility forward has made two appearances in Super League this season and is to begin full-time training with the first-team squad later this month.

Halifax-born Bates has consistently shone in Bradford's Under-19 side and is now focused on becoming a first-team regular.

"I am over the moon to be extending my deal as I really want to make a mark here," he told the Bulls official website.

"I have played a couple of first-team games this year and was 18th man for another. I loved every minute of it and want to experience much more.

"No-one really expected anything from me and the pressure was off, which enabled me to just go for it.

"But the pressure is on now. I will be training full-time with the first team pretty much right away, once my college commitments are complete.

"The good thing is I will be active throughout the course of next year, as I have been this season, because I can go round again with the Under-19s while attempting to make the first team."

Coach Francis Cummins is predicting a bright future for Bates, and he said: "Sam has all the necessary attributes to go far in the sport, he is a very hard worker.

"The game-time he enjoyed against Wigan and Warriors perhaps came earlier than expected, but he certainly stepped up and did extremely well.

"If required, I would not hesitate in selecting him but Sam knows he is now on a progression path. We are looking forward to seeing how he grows and improves over the coming years."