Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Bradford Bulls announce signing of stand off Lee Gaskell
10:24am Thursday 29th August 2013 in Sport
LEE Gaskell will join Bradford Bulls next season, it was confirmed today.
The 22-year-old stand-off, who is currently on loan at Salford, will join the Bulls on a two-year deal from next season.
Gaskell made a promising start to his Saints career but he fell out of favour after Royce Simmons was sacked last year.
He started this season as a first choice half back at Saints but swiftly slipped down Nathan's Brown pecking order and was sent on loan to Salford.
The Bradford Telegraph and Argus reports that he looks set to battle it out with Jarrod Sammut for the No 6 jersey next term and that Bulls coach Francis Cummins has welcomed the increased competition within his squad.
The Bulls coach said: “I’ve made it clear to people that I’ve not told anyone they are my six or my seven – the jersey has to be earned because that’s the environment that we want.
“If we’re going to make that next step, then we’ve got to drive each other on and have a good-sized squad because injuries do happen.
“The competition will bring out the best in everybody and whoever is playing and training the best will get a spot in the side.
“I’ve been so impressed with the players in terms of how well they have trained this season but one thing we’ve not had throughout the year is huge competition.
“I do see Lee as a half but he’s been playing full back and a bit at centre during his time with Salford, so he’s got experience in other positions too, which is essential.”
Luke Gale is the Bulls’ first-choice scrum half but Danny Addy has enjoyed a solid campaign and impressed when called upon in the halves this season.
Addy is expected to feature regularly in the back row next term but Cummins is happy to have him as another option in the pivots.
The Bulls boss added: “Danny Addy has done really well for us this season, although you would probably look at him more as a loose forward next year. Danny might not have the out and out speed of Jarrod, Luke and Lee, but it’s all about competition for places.
“Lee brings a little bit more tactically but Jarrod, when he produces his best game, is special.
“If he produces his best game every week then he will get in every week and that’s the same for Luke Gale too.
“This competition will only strengthen the team and that’s what we need.”
Cummins beat off competition from Salford and a number of other clubs to sign Gaskell, who progressed through the ranks at Saints and made a try-scoring debut under Mick Potter during a home defeat to Catalan in July 2010.
He enjoyed an outstanding 2011 campaign and played in Saints’ Grand Final defeat to Leeds but in March of this year he joined Salford on loan until the end of the season.
Gaskell has impressed in a struggling side and Cummins added: “Lee’s still young but he has a Grand Final appearance under his belt and that’s a great experience to have.
“He’s a little bit similar to Jamie Foster in that he’s had a taste of it at an early stage in his career and has probably felt that the rug has been pulled from under him at St Helens.
“But it’s great that he was really keen to come to Bradford when he had an offer from Salford to go there.
“He’s had some really good performances, away to London when he scored a hat-trick, and he managed to get a few other tries as well, which is pleasing.
“When you’re stood next to Lee, he’s quite imposing and you can see the potential in him, which is great. His best years are ahead of him.”
Deputy director Robbie Hunter-Paul said: “Lee is still very young but has a wealth of experience having been at St Helens since he was 16. “He has a great kicking game and some genuine pace. He will be a big asset to the club over the next couple of years.”