Jordan Lilley has hailed the influence of Rob Burrow on his career and pledged his support for his former Leeds team-mate.
The Bradford half-back says Burrow was a massive inspiration growing up and a guiding light during his formative years as a professional at Headingley.
And like many, Lilley was distressed by news of his motor neurone disease diagnosis last week.
Lilley said: “I heard the news and like a lot of people it hit me really hard.
“Rob’s been a key factor in my career and he’s looked after me as I’ve been coming up.
“He’s talked to me, given me everything I needed and even since I’ve gone to Bradord he’s still ringing me up to see how I’m getting on and to check I’m alright.
“He’s been a massive inspiration to me growing up and still is.”
Burrow revealed his motor neurone diagnosis last week and Lilley is one of many stars of the game rallying support behind him.
“It’s about getting behind him now.
“He’s looked after so many people and made memories for people, at Grand Finals and at Wembley, and made a lot of people very happy.
“But he’s not just an inspiration and a legend in Leeds colours, he’s a legend of the game.
“He’s touched so many people through all the magnificent things he’s done in his career.
“I know the word legend gets thrown around a lot, but if you look at his career stats, the medals he’s picked up, he’s a true legend.
“Rugby League and sportspeople all over have got behind him, which shows the calibre of person he is.
Lilley added: “He’s a real strong character and an all-round brilliant guy, so I’m sending all my love from me and all my family.”
Meanwhile, Lilley says supports can expect energy enthusiasm from a new look Bradford squad in 2020.
The Bulls playing roster has been transformed during the close-season and Lilley is eager for the players to build cohesion in their friendly against Castleford on Boxing Day.
“We’ll be energetic. We’re a young side, with lots of energy and lots of movement, and we’ll be giving 110% every week.
“It’s hard to say too much yet as we haven’t played together before, so it’ll be great to see how we gel on the field.
“The combinations might not be quite there on Boxing Day, it might be a bit scratchy, but it’ll be good to get out there and put things in place to build.”
And though Lilley admits he shares the club’s vision of a return to Bradford, he insists the squad are capable of taking the transition to playing at Dewsbury next year in their stride.
“We’re all professionals and we just get on with our job, wherever it is that we play.
“We just have to go do it. We can’t moan too much and dwell on it, you just have to go and get the job done.
“A lot of the Bradford-born lads want to get back to playing in their home town and I’m sure a lot of the fans do, so the sooner we can the better.
“But for now the new owners have done a good job getting everything in place and everything’s looking like we’re on the up.
“Our focus is the job on the field.”