Bradford Bulls confirm Masi Matongo return

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By The Telegraph Argus

THERE is one notable inclusion and one notable absentee in Bulls’ 21-man squad for their round three Betfred Championship clash at home to Widnes, which was released this afternoon.

After weeks of speculation, former Hull FC and York RLFC prop Masi Matongo has finally been confirmed as a Bulls player, and could make his second debut for the club at Odsal on Sunday.

Matongo was brought in on loan by Bradford in August 2021, but only played one game for them under now-Widnes head coach John Kear, a 36-18 away win at his future employers York.

The Zimbabwe-born forward may even come into the starting line up as a direct replacement for Bulls captain Michael Lawrence, who has not been named in the 21-man squad.

When speaking to the T&A this week, Bulls head coach Mark Dunning said no-one had suffered anything more than bumps and bruises in the defeat at York on Monday, so it remains to be seen whether Lawrence picked up a knock in training, or if the illness that kept him out in pre-season is still affecting him at all.

Vice-captain Bodene Thompson is likely to lead the team in his absence, while his fellow back-rower Keven Appo could make his Bulls debut having also been named in the 21-man squad.

The Lawrence and Matongo switch is actually the only difference from the squad named for the defeat at York, with full-back Jack Walker still expected to be out for at least the next few weeks after the hamstring injury he suffered in the opening day win over Whitehaven.