Friday 8th March 2013, 20:00
Super League - Round: 6
Patrick Ah Van 2, Rhys Hanbury, Lloyd White,
Elliott Whitehead, Brett Kearney, Matt Diskin, Keith Lulia,
Patrick Ah Van 3,
Jarrod Sammut 3,
Attendance: 5,861 Official: R Hicks Venue: Select Security Stadium Halton
Full Time Report
A great fightback by 12 man Widnes secured them a share of the spoils as the Bulls let slip a 20-4 half time lead to draw 22 all at the Stobart Stadium.
The visitors led comfortably 20-4 at halftime with Gareth Hock sent off for dissent, but a try-less second half, and a fight-back, inspired by Vikings fullback Rhys Hanbury, saw them share the spoils.
The Bulls were able to recall co-captain Matt Diskin to the bench, after he missed out on last week’s triumph against the Giants with a dead leg.
But Jamie Foster could not shake off the knock which he picked up at the John Smith’s Stadium, meaning Chev Walker rolled back the years to line-up on the wing, with Jamie Langley promoted to loose forward, whilst Jobe Murphy made his second Super League appearance off the bench.
Danny Addy’s spiralling bomb caused Hanbury to knock on, which gave the Bulls their third set on the bounce. That then gave Addy the platform to combine with Brett Kearney, who in turn found Elliot Whitehead crossing over.
Jarrod Sammut then missed the conversion but it was not long before he was lining up for kicking duties again, as a penalty gave Keith Lulia the field position to break and then produce a breath-taking offload to Kearney, who powered his way to the line on the left edge for his eighth try of the season. Sammut this time goaled the tricky conversion to put the Bulls ten up before the Vikings had even touched the ball.
A succession of penalties then put Widnes on the Bulls line. However, the resilient defence from the visitors forced Hep Cahill to knock on. Addy then produced a sublime 40-20 to then regain the momentum, but this time the Bulls failed to penetrate the Vikings try-line.
But, after another penalty and then a repeat set, the Bulls could hold out no more, as ex-player Patrick Ah Van barged through on the left. Ah Van failed to convert his try and then he almost found himself over for his second, but this time he failed to ground the ball and the visitors held on by the skin of their teeth.
That grit and determination in defence really paid dividends, after another superb kick from Addy produced a repeat set and a penalty then put Diskin in position to scoot over the tryline, and, after consultation with his assistant, referee Robert Hicks awarded the try, to Hock’s disgust, leading to Hicks sent off.
Sammut then booted the extra two and the Bulls made that extra man count before half-time, as a flowing move saw Sammut feed in Lulia for the visitors’ fourth try. Sammut missed the kick, but the Bulls had a commanding 20-4 lead going into the sheds.
A piece of magic from Lloyd White then got the 12 men of the Vikings back into it four minutes after the restart, as his cut-out pass put Willie Isa through, who then found Rhys Hanbury in support to finish. Ah Van missed the conversion.
That left edge was proving to bear fruit for the Vikings, and they were in again when White and Hanbury dovetailed affectively to get Ah Van squeezing in for his second at the corner. Ah Van then hit over the two from the touchline to bring Widnes within six.
At this point all the ascendancy was with the home side, and when the Bulls won a penalty 40 metres out, Sammut successfully went for goal to help halt that momentum.
The relentless pace of the encounter continued though, and Hanbury looked to have danced his way in atht the left again, but this time the Bulls defence held out strong.
The now scrum capped Hanbury was still causing chaos for the visiting defence though, and, with 10 minutes left, the Australian’s creativity saw him set up White through the middle, giving Ah Van the simple task of getting them within two.
A penalty for offside then gave Ah Van an opportunity, which he did not miss to level it up and despite drop goal efforts from Addy and Hanbury, that is the way it stayed.
Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Flynn, Dean, Isa, Ah Van; White, Mellor; Cross, Clarke, O’Carroll, Hock, Allen, Cahill. Subs: Winterstein, Kavanagh, Joseph, Gerrard.
Bradford Bulls: Kearney; Kear, Blythe, Lulia, Walker; Addy, Sammut; Scruton, L’Estrange, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Whitehead, Langley. Subs: Diskin, Donaldson, Murphy, Sidlow.