Hunslet RLFC v Bradford Bulls
Sunday 15th July 2018, 13:00pm
League 1 - Round: 17
Stats over last 6 encounters
With the sun blazing down on the South Leeds Stadium, Bradford came away with a 36-16 victory following a difficult affair, facing an in-form Hunslet side.
The opening 40 minutes was a showcase of grit and determination from both sides, making for points to be at a premium and opportunities from the kicking-tee to be taken when possible.
Gregg McNally looked certain to kick off proceedings as Sam Hallas broke the line on the second attacking set of the game, feeding the full-back, until the move was pulled back for a forward pass.
Looking for a response from their defeat last week against Workington, the home side kept their heads high and kicked off proceedings with an early try from Murray.
Shifting the ball to the left flank from the base of the scrum, a defensive lapse from the Bulls gifted them the opening score of the game.
Jostling for possession for over 20 minutes, Bradford struck with their first try of the game through Ashley Gibson.
Joe Keyes floated a perfectly weighted kick to Dalton Grant, making his 150-career appearance, and offloaded to Ashley Gibson in the air, who strolled in for four.
Claiming as many tries in as many minutes, the former Super League man struck once more to give the Bulls their first lead of the game and bag an early brace.
Sticking out a firm left hand, the number three put the big don’t argue in on his opposing man, giving him room to touch down by the pylon.
With the lead, Bradford came up against a dogged Hunslet outfit, who put the pressure on the visitors with both clubs to and froing with the lead.
Exchanging penalty kicks following numerous calls from the referee, Bradford went into the half-time team talk with a 12-10 edge.
Making their way to the tunnel for an inspired team talk from John Kear, the 17 men that went down the tunnel came out rejuvenated and highly motivated.
Leading from the front foot, captain Steve Crossley barged his way over the line for the second half’s first score, running like a man possessed.
Taking the inside ball from George Flanagan at dummy-half, the 120kg man target the Hunslet second-row, who had no chance of stopping the white of white.
Despite being uplifted by the strong words of Kear, Bradford still came across an impressive Parksiders outfit who fought their way to three back to back sets – resulting in Straughier crossing through a gap in the Bulls line.
Closing the gap to just two points, it was imperative that Bradford broke the whitewash next if they were to leave South Leeds with the two points.
Extending the lead for his side, Ireland International Keyes came up with the goods as his dancing feet worked his way to the Hunslet sticks – dealing a damaging blow.
Getting the ball out of the ruck with pace, Flanagan gave the ball to Crossley, who in turn offloaded to Keyes, who cut inside and made his way to the sticks.
With the end in sight, Flanagan struck twice against his former side to confirm victory for his hometown club.
Showing his try-scoring class, the Bulls Academy product fooled the entire Hunslet line with the all-to-familiar show and go, allowing him to barge over a lone defender under the posts.
Entering the final minute, Flanagan claimed a late brace on his return to action. Scooping the ball up with one hand from the number 9 role, he charged at the line, oozing determination, fighting his way past four defenders to touch down.
Today’s victory will aid the side, giving major momentum going into next week’s promotion battle with York City Knights at Odsal Stadium.
Bradford Bulls: McNally, Ryan, Oakes, Gibson, Grant, Keyes, Chisholm, Crossley, Hallas, Bustin, Garside, Laithwaite, Minchella.
Interchanges: Peltier, Pickersgill, Flanagan, Green.
Goals: Chisholm – 4/6
Tries: Gibson (16’, 18’), Crossley (43’), Keyes (58’), Flanagan (60’, 77’)
Hunslet RLFC: Watson, Foggin-Johnston, Mvududu, Ashton, Duffy, Sanderson, Southernwood, Hema, Lee, Reed, Tonks, Straugheir, Mackay.
Interchanges: Halmshaw, Williams, Haley, Coventry.
Goals: Sanderson – 4/4
Tries: Murray (5’), Straugheir (55’)