10th February 2019, 20:00
BULLS TAME LIONS TO MAINTAIN PERFECT START
THREE tries in a strong second-half showing sealed a deserved 31-12 win for Bradford Bulls at Swinton Lions this afternoon, maintaining the side’s 100% start to the season.
Matty Wildie touched down after five minutes as Bradford enjoyed the perfect start to proceedings, before back-to-back Swinton tries handed the hosts a first-half lead.
Ethan Ryan’s try from Dane Chisholm’s kick levelled the scores before the latter’s penalty goal ensured a half-time advantage for John Kear’s men.
A much-improved second-half showing saw Elliot Minchella, Steve Crossley and Rhys Evans all cross for tries, with a Jordan Lilley drop-goal also troubling the scoreboard as the hosts’ were kept scoreless.
Head coach Kear named an unchanged line-up following last week’s 17-16 defeat of Featherstone Rovers and his side travelled to Heywood Road to make it two wins from two in 2019.
Brandon Pickersgill broke through a determined Swinton defence just five minutes into the Round Two clash and the full-back fed the supporting Wildie to go over underneath the sticks.
The home side rallied in response and soon found themselves ahead with two tries in a five-minute spell – Mike Butt touching down in the corner following a kick out wide.
Liam Forsyth was the next beneficiary of a smart Swinton kick in behind the Bradford defence, pouncing on a loose ball to hand the hosts the initiative early on.
Defences stood firm in the following twenty minutes as Bradford looked to turn the screw with the half-time interval coming into sight.
Following a spell of sustained pressure in the Swinton half, a perfectly weighted kick out wide by Chisholm landed in the hands of Ryan to open his account in 2019.
The half-back landed the touchline conversion and continued his strong form from the kicking tee on the stroke of half-time, slotting over a penalty for a 14-12 lead at the break.
Bradford began the second-half in the same vein they ended the first and quickly set about extending their lead in front of the 1,498 in attendance – with Minchella diving over in the corner following an offload by the superb Jy Hitchcox.
Swinton responded with a spell in Bradford’s half before smart play by Jordan Lilley – landing a drop goal from 20 metres – gave the visitors a two-try lead on 66 minutes.
The Bulls began to grow in confidence and soon found themselves stretching further clear as Matty Wildie fed an onrushing Steve Crossley to barge his way over for his first try of the season, and Bradford’s fourth of the afternoon.
A brilliant break by Hitchcox following a short kick-off caught Swinton off guard and the following play saw the ball spread out wide to Evans to touch down for his first try in the red, amber and black.
Bradford pressed for further scores in the game’s final minutes but the damage was already done to maintain the club’s 100% start to the season.
Swinton Lions: Jack Hansen, Mike Butt, Rhodri Lloyd, Chris Hankinson, Liam Forsyth, Harry Smith, Rob Fairclough, Gavin Bennion, Luke Waterworth, Lewis Hatton, Kyle Shelford, Liam Paisley, Liam Byrne. Subs: Ben Austin, Billy Brickhill, Frankie Hatton, Paddy Jones.
Tries: Butt (11), Forsyth (15)
Goals: Hankinson (2/3)
Bradford Bulls: Brandon Pickersgill, Jy Hitchcox, Rhys Evans, Jake Webster, Ethan Ryan, Dane Chisholm, Jordan Lilley, Steve Crossley, Matty Wildie, Liam Kirk, Elliot Minchella, Connor Farrell, Sam Hallas. Subs: George Flanagan, Mikey Wood, Ross Oakes, James Green.
Tries: Wildie (5), Ryan (34), Minchella (51), Crossley (71), Evans (75)
Goals: Chisholm (5/6)
Drop-Goals: Jordan Lilley (1/1)