26th December 2017, 20:35
BRADFORD DOMINATE RIVALS IN PRESEASON BATTLE
This afternoon the new era of Bradford Bulls claimed their first victory in their inaugural outing ahead of the 2018 season with a 22-6 victory over Yorkshire rivals, Halifax RLFC.
Returning to the field and preparing for the exciting year that lies ahead, Bradford maintained a firm control throughout the full game after steadying themselves following a brief slip up in defensive duties.
Halifax were the first team to break the plane on the stroke of just the third minute as Bradford kicked away on the final tackle of their first set.
Forward Morris took the ball to the line with two defenders around him and managed to slam the ball down over the whitewash to check in for four points. Converted by Jordan Syme.
Stemming from this John Kear got his men into order and controlled the flow of play from the 4th minute until the final whistle.
Bradford were in complete control and looking threating, hitting on all cylinders down the channels as well as punching the ball down the throats of their opponents.
Returning to the Provident Stadium for his third tenure as a Bull, Steve Crossley set the tone and ran hard and true up the middle from 15m out, breaking through the defensive line and crashing into the in-goal area, only to be held up.
Shortly after, Elliot Minchella followed suit and was also denied by the whistle of the match official.
Putting the first points on the board for the Bulls was Liam Kirk. The commanding figure latched on to a pass from the middle of the field, to bowl over the line next to the sticks and gain momentum for his side.
Shortly after, Minchella took centre stage once more, calling for the ball from his halfback counterpart Lee Smith to kick forward under the sticks, allowing him to latch on and gain the lead.
The Bulls went into the break with a convincing 12-6 lead that should have been more.
Coming out of the half time team talk, Kears’ side maintained the same ‘bend and don’t break’ attitude from the first half, keeping their rivals to a scoreless second half as well as tacking on ten more points.
Putting in a contender for a Man of the Match performance, Josh Rickett intercepted a Halifax move on the half way line, taking the ball within touching distance of the in-goal area.
Rickett’s efforts put the Bulls in brilliant field position, allowing Dalton Grant to reap the rewards after linking up with Lee Smith in the centre of the park.
The former England man’s run across the middle of the field drew the opposing winger inside to attempt the tackle, allowing Grant to stroll in the corner.
Ten minutes later Minchella mirrored his first try, this time connecting with Sam Hallas who prodded forward from dummy half, allowing the debutant to touch down for his second.
Bradford remained in control of the game throughout, maintaining discipline in defence and a strong attack shape to take the ball down field.
BRADFORD BULLS: Pickersgill, Rickett, Johnson, Gibson, Oakes, Smith, Minchella, Crossley, Halafihi, Wood, Garside, Hodgson, Hallas.
Interchanges: Kirk, Grant, Butterworth, Peltier, Goodall, King, Milnes.
GOALS: Smith (2/3), Milnes (1/1)
TRIES: Kirk (29’), Minchella (36’, 64’), Grant (56’)
HALIFAX RLFC: Woodburn-Hall, Heaton, Butler, Syme, McGrath, Punchard, Johnston, Morris, Moore, Jack Fairbank, Davies, Calcott, Jacob Fairbank.
Interchanges: Jones, C. Davies, Cullimore, Dewhirst, Stringer, Morgan, Brook.
GOALS: Syme (1/1)
TRIES: Morris (3’),
Referee – Liam Stavely