Bradford Bulls chastened by Leeds Rhinos masterclass

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Elliot Kear gets away from Zak Hardaker to score one of his two tries Elliot Kear gets away from Zak Hardaker to score one of his two tries

Bulls 22, Leeds Rhinos 42

Francis Cummins’ team had matched Leeds blow for blow in a classic 18-18 draw at Headingley six weeks ago.

Last night they were left on the ropes after being blown away during an exhilarating opening 40 minutes from the champions.

Brian McDermott’s men ran in five first-half tries to lead 30-6 at the break in a display which simply oozed class.

Leeds were too strong, too vibrant and, above all, too quick for the Bulls as they powered to their sixth straight victory.

The Rhinos’ teamwork was peerless, their conviction unshakeable.

This is a team, of course, that has been crowned Super League champions five times in the past six seasons.

Kallum Watkins scored a breathtaking long-range effort to open the scoring but the way Leeds kept the ball alive to create a second try for Mitch Achurch was equally admirable.

Although outclassed by a genuinely great side, the Bulls never threw in the towel.

Far from it, in fact.

They hit back before the break with a try from replacement Ben Evans and second-half scores by Elliot Kear (2) and Brett Kearney restored more than a semblance of respectability and pride.

But further Leeds tries from Zak Hardaker and Carl Ablett again served as further reminders of Leeds’ quality on a chastening night.

The Bulls were dealt a blow before kick-off when John Bateman was ruled out after failing to recover from the wrist injury he sustained at Warrington last weekend.

That meant Tom Olbison was recalled in the second row but the real big news came with the return of Matty Blythe.

The on-loan Warrington man was handed a starting berth at right centre, prompting Adrian Purtell to be switched to the wing.

Leeds were bolstered by the return of fiery forward Ryan Bailey after a four-match ban following his recent dismissal at Catalan Dragons.

He replaced highly-rated 19-year-old Stevie Ward, who dislocated a shoulder in last weekend’s win to rule him out for up to four months.

A glance at the Rhinos’ teamsheet before kick-off confirmed the strength in depth at McDermott’s disposal.

After being outclassed by Wigan and Warrington in their previous two Super League outings, the Bulls now had to raise their game.

But if they could match the champions on their own turf, why not at Odsal? In a breakneck opening though, Leeds quickly illustrated their championship class.

Captain Kevin Sinfield, making his 450th appearance for Leeds, sent a teasing kick inside the right channel for Watkins to collect.

He in turn kicked dangerously behind the Bradford defence but the danger was eventually cleared and the hosts steadied themselves, thanks in no small part due to a fine kick from Luke Gale.

Yet the respite did not last long as Leeds led in exhilarating fashion after winger Ryan Hall caught another kick from Gale. He moved infield from the left flank and found Watkins advancing at pace on his own 20-metre line.

The centre showed outstanding pace and strength to accelerate past a clutch of statuesque Bradford players from deep inside his own half to cross the line, despite Kear’s despairing lunge making contact with him.

Sinfield converted and three minutes later Leeds struck again after a brilliant array of inter-passing.

The Rhinos conjured a delightful handling sequence which saw the ball pass through Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Brett Delaney, Danny McGuire, Sinfield and Hardaker, whose neat pass sent Achurch bustling over the line from close range.

Sinfield added his second conversion and the Bulls were 12-0 down and facing a mountainous task.

They steadied themselves once more and fashioned a decent spell of field position but could not make it pay.

Gale, typically, was at the heart of all their best moves but Leeds continued to look dangerous.

In the 16th minute, Sinfield’s dangerous grubber kick was palmed out by Kearney at the expense of a goal-line drop-out.

Two minutes later, Sammut’s teasing kick forced Leeds to drop out and the Malta international stand-off then embarked on a brilliant run from inside his own half.

Leeds, rather fortuitously, were then awarded a penalty for an apparent obstruction and the Rhinos marched upfield before Rob Burrow’s short pass ushered Ablett over inside the right channel.

Sinfield again proved reliable with the boot and Cummins immediately made a double substitution, replacing former Leeds duo Matt Diskin and Nick Scruton with Heath L’Estrange and Ben Evans.

Danny Addy then replaced Chev Walker but it took a brilliant saving tackle from Kear to deny Hardaker a fourth Leeds try as the full back threatened to race clear.

L’Estrange and McGuire then squared up to one another before the Bulls joint-captain’s neat pass sent Evans barrelling over the line from close range.

Evans managed to ground the ball despite being caught high and late by Achurch’s challenge and Sammut converted to make it 18-6.

Yet Leeds continued to look irresistible with the ball in hand and they struck again five minutes before the break.

Replacement hooker Paul McShane showed some delightful footwork to glide past two defenders before showing intelligence to send McGuire galloping over from close range.

Sinfield’s fourth conversion from as many attempts left Leeds 24-6 up – but there was still time for more agony before the interval whistle. Bailey managed to ground the ball from close range and Sinfield’s fifth goal made it 30-6 at the break.

Moments after the restart, Addy caught Delaney late but the Bulls scored their second try of the match in the 45th minute when Kear finished with aplomb in the right corner.

They continued to probe and were rewarded again eight minutes later when Kearney’s neat footwork took him through a gap in the Leeds rearguard to scamper under the posts.

Sammut could not convert Kear’s effort but he improved Kearney’s score to bring the Bulls to within 14 points of their visitors.

Purtell then looked to have legitimately collected possession to break clear but referee Richard Silverwood called back play.

With 15 minutes remaining, Leeds struck again when Hardaker took a short pass from McGuire to score and Sinfield added the extras.

Ablett was then sent clear by Sinfield for his second try to complete the rout before Kear’s second, converted by Sammut, further restored the Bulls’ pride.

Sadly, it was not nearly enough.

Attendance: 12,016

Comments (7)

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7:14am Sat 4 May 13

bullybullman says...

Pathetic performance , pathetic crowd & overall just not good enough ! some of our player are listening way too much to their own hype.

Wake up smell the coffee the play off`s are once again slipping away & yet again its the supporters who have to suffer.

If this bunch can`t raise their game against Leeds then they wont for anyone disgrace.

Omar is doning all he can but we need a massive cash injection for next season we need to get a couple of world class forwards & another winger with pace.

Disapointed is not the word !!!!
Pathetic performance , pathetic crowd & overall just not good enough ! some of our player are listening way too much to their own hype. Wake up smell the coffee the play off`s are once again slipping away & yet again its the supporters who have to suffer. If this bunch can`t raise their game against Leeds then they wont for anyone disgrace. Omar is doning all he can but we need a massive cash injection for next season we need to get a couple of world class forwards & another winger with pace. Disapointed is not the word !!!! bullybullman
  • Score: 0

7:16am Sat 4 May 13

bartsbull says...

We were poor in defence last night in the first half to many errors to many missed tackles

The effort is there it is the execution that needs sorting out

But when are this Leeds team going to get pinged for high tackles forward passes constantly holding down

All the other teams in the league have been pulled up and players sent of or sin bind yes i know bailey as but that is nothing new

The whole reffereing and policing of the games officials needs a big kick up the backside some of these lines men are very poor and passed there sell by dte
We were poor in defence last night in the first half to many errors to many missed tackles The effort is there it is the execution that needs sorting out But when are this Leeds team going to get pinged for high tackles forward passes constantly holding down All the other teams in the league have been pulled up and players sent of or sin bind yes i know bailey as but that is nothing new The whole reffereing and policing of the games officials needs a big kick up the backside some of these lines men are very poor and passed there sell by dte bartsbull
  • Score: 0

9:32am Sat 4 May 13

liverpoolbull says...

Calling the team pathetic helps nobody we as fans have got to realise we are no longer a top side, we are a new side and for a few seasons at least , a bottom half side, give that at the half way mark we ha e taken three points from the top four sides and beaten a the lower ones bar Hull , that gives a top eight finish if we repeat that in part two of the season . That in my book is a result , this is the first season under Franny , stop knocking and start cheering
Calling the team pathetic helps nobody we as fans have got to realise we are no longer a top side, we are a new side and for a few seasons at least , a bottom half side, give that at the half way mark we ha e taken three points from the top four sides and beaten a the lower ones bar Hull , that gives a top eight finish if we repeat that in part two of the season . That in my book is a result , this is the first season under Franny , stop knocking and start cheering liverpoolbull
  • Score: 0

9:36am Sat 4 May 13

AUGUST1964 says...

bullybullman wrote:
Pathetic performance , pathetic crowd & overall just not good enough ! some of our player are listening way too much to their own hype. Wake up smell the coffee the play off`s are once again slipping away & yet again its the supporters who have to suffer. If this bunch can`t raise their game against Leeds then they wont for anyone disgrace. Omar is doning all he can but we need a massive cash injection for next season we need to get a couple of world class forwards & another winger with pace. Disapointed is not the word !!!!
Expecting world champions in a short space of time aren't you.
A year ago we were almost gone,you obviously expected miracles in the first season,you may aswell keep away for a year or two and come back when you can be what you appear to be, A GLORY SUPPORTER, not prepared to wait for success!!
[quote][p][bold]bullybullman[/bold] wrote: Pathetic performance , pathetic crowd & overall just not good enough ! some of our player are listening way too much to their own hype. Wake up smell the coffee the play off`s are once again slipping away & yet again its the supporters who have to suffer. If this bunch can`t raise their game against Leeds then they wont for anyone disgrace. Omar is doning all he can but we need a massive cash injection for next season we need to get a couple of world class forwards & another winger with pace. Disapointed is not the word !!!![/p][/quote]Expecting world champions in a short space of time aren't you. A year ago we were almost gone,you obviously expected miracles in the first season,you may aswell keep away for a year or two and come back when you can be what you appear to be, A GLORY SUPPORTER, not prepared to wait for success!! AUGUST1964
  • Score: 0

11:50am Sat 4 May 13

bullybullman says...

No expecting a bit of passion & commitment ! no of which i`ve seen in the last 3 games. Glory supporter my backside I expect your one of the Fat dicks that cheers along no matter what !
No expecting a bit of passion & commitment ! no of which i`ve seen in the last 3 games. Glory supporter my backside I expect your one of the Fat dicks that cheers along no matter what ! bullybullman
  • Score: 0

12:08pm Sat 4 May 13

danger mouse says...

bullybullman wrote:
No expecting a bit of passion & commitment ! no of which i`ve seen in the last 3 games. Glory supporter my backside I expect your one of the Fat dicks that cheers along no matter what !
cheering along no matter what means supporting your club and not slagging them off all the time. A team needs encouragement regardless of how poor or how well they are performing. Yes not the best performance last night, but I'm sure you've had a bad day at the office before!!
[quote][p][bold]bullybullman[/bold] wrote: No expecting a bit of passion & commitment ! no of which i`ve seen in the last 3 games. Glory supporter my backside I expect your one of the Fat dicks that cheers along no matter what ![/p][/quote]cheering along no matter what means supporting your club and not slagging them off all the time. A team needs encouragement regardless of how poor or how well they are performing. Yes not the best performance last night, but I'm sure you've had a bad day at the office before!! danger mouse
  • Score: 0

10:37am Tue 7 May 13

Bone_idle18 says...

How many high shots has Kylie Leuluai put on out players in the two games this season? McGuire should get hauled in front of the beak for the knee, but I bet he won't.

Aside from that, we need to man up in defence, Leeds shrugged off tackles far too often (won't even call it bust tackles as the tackling was so weak at time).

I think we're still growing as a team though, even Warrington with their mega-bucks took a few years before they started to get good.
How many high shots has Kylie Leuluai put on out players in the two games this season? McGuire should get hauled in front of the beak for the knee, but I bet he won't. Aside from that, we need to man up in defence, Leeds shrugged off tackles far too often (won't even call it bust tackles as the tackling was so weak at time). I think we're still growing as a team though, even Warrington with their mega-bucks took a few years before they started to get good. Bone_idle18
  • Score: 0

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