BULLS' young academy and scholarship stars will be able to return to training from March 8, following an announcement from the RFL yesterday afternoon.

But continuing public health concerns mean that there will be no formal academy competition in 2021.

The playing format is set to be discussed in more detail with clubs next week. 

RFL Chief On-Field Officer, Dave Rotheram, said: “This is another big step in the right direction for Rugby League’s Talent Pathway.

“It’s been a long time coming and everybody connected with the academy game – players, clubs, coaches – is keen to get down to business and make up for lost time. 

“It won’t be plain sailing and we have to tread carefully, especially in respect of player welfare.

“Covid continues to present considerable logistical challenges and young players will need time to adjust to a return to collision sport. 

“We feel that a competitive league structure and full fixture list isn’t appropriate this year, so will instead work towards a formula that affords as many playing opportunities as possible for players who have missed so much in the last 12 months.”

Scholarship players at under 16 and 17 levels are also clear to return to training from March 8.

And that means more good news for U16 scholarship starlet Max Hassan, who has also been named as the Bullbuilder Trainer of the Month for last month.

January's lockdown saw Bulls' academy and scholarship sides reduced to online training with their strength and conditioning coaches, Chris Chapman, Chris Honor and Louis Birchall.

The Bullbuilder Trainer of the Month award was introduced upon the academy and scholarship's return to training in November, rewarding the efforts of the next generation on the training field.

Scholarship head coach Ryan Hunkin has paid tribute to Hassan's efforts to engage during another difficult period in lockdown.

He said: "I am delighted that Max has been awarded the Trainer of the Month, his engagement and efforts throughout a very challenging time have been exceptional.

"His input into the resilience courses we have been delivering have been first class and we are looking forward to the return to training where we can see Max kick on to become the best he can be."

Hassan is one of the many young Keighley Albion stars affiliated with the Bulls.