16th February 2019, 11:00
LATE TRIES BREAK BRADFORD RESISTANCE TO HAND BULLS FIRST DEFEAT
DESPITE stubborn defending - having been reduced to 12 men - Bradford Bulls fell to a first defeat of the season at the hands of Sheffield Eagles, losing 24-10.
A fast start by the visitors saw Ross Oakes and Ethan Ryan cross for tries within the first quarter, before a Josh Guzdek try reduced the arrears for the home side.
James Green was sent off soon after the restart with Ben Blackmore sin-binned for the hosts, before the Eagles finally broke a determined Bradford defence through James Glover.
Brad Knowles was then judged to have grounded the ball for the hosts to extend their lead despite the best efforts of the Bradford defence, before Joel Farrell sealed the points.
John Kear handed debuts to Olsi Krasniqi and Jon Magrin for the round-three clash, whilst Matt Garside and Rowan Milnes both made their first appearance of the season - with the Bradford boss forced into four changes from the side which won their first two games of the season.
Rowan Milnes’ looping pass on the powerplay found Ethan Ryan, whose quick hands superbly fed Ross Oakes to crash over for the game’s opening score.
From the following set, Bradford found themselves camped in the Eagles half and Milnes expertly made his way through a gap in the home defence, passing to Ethan Ryan to score under the sticks.
Both sides traded errors and penalties for the rest of the half, with Guzdek the beneficiary for the hosts, making his way over after successive penalties to reduce the deficit.
Bradford continued to look dangerous on the Sheffield line and looked to be in through Elliot Minchella, only for the referee to rule the effort out for a knock on.
Ryan athletically collected a Jordan Lilley kick and somehow offloaded to Oakes but the Sheffield defence scrambled well to restrict the centre.
The second half began with penalties aplenty and James Green was sent off for an alleged high shot – which sparked a fracas which also saw Ben Blackmore get sent to the sin-bin.
Sheffield continued to put Bradford under pressure but the visiting defence held firm until James Glover took advantage of a Sheffield break to score.
Knowles then barged his way over from dummy half but despite being looked to have been held up, the referee gave the try for the home side.
Joel Farrell then went over late on after another Sheffield penalty to seal the points, despite a dogged defensive performance.
SHEFFIELD EAGLES: Josh Guzdek, Ryan Millar, James Glover, Jason Crookes, Ben Blackmore, Pat Walker, Anthony Thackeray, Matt James, Greg Burns, Brad Knowles, Joel Farrell, Oliver Davies, Aaron Brown. Subs: Corey Makelim, Blake Broadbent, Sonny Esslemont, Paddy Burns
Tries: Guzdek (25), Glover (64), Knowles (68), Farrell (78)
Goals: Walker 4/4
BRADFORD BULLS: Brandon Pickersgill, Jy Hitchcox, Rhys Evans, Ross Oakes, Ethan Ryan, Rowan Milnes, Jordan Lilley, Liam Kirk, Matty Wildie, Steve Crossley, Connor Farrell, Elliot Minchella, Jon Magrin. Subs: George Flanagan, James Green, Olsi Krasniqi, Matt Garside.
Tries: Oakes (11), Ryan (14)
Goals: Lilley 1/2