Bradford Bulls defy off-field turmoil to register second win in a row

All eyes on the referee as Adam Sidlow extends the Bulls’ lead to 12-0

Physios and medical staff attend to Luke George after he was knocked out making a lunge for the line

Luke Gale opens the scoring

Man of the match Anthony Mullally produced a powerhouse performance

London Broncos fans pack the away terrace!

First published in Sport
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Bulls Reporter

Bradford Bulls 25 London Broncos 12

They have lost three of their best players and six points since entering administration, but the Bulls still possess something arguably even more precious.

Spirit, togetherness and a refusal to throw in the towel.

After their points penalty was followed by Nick Scruton walking out and joining Wakefield, the Bulls could have easily suffered distraction yesterday.

They did not.

This was about a Super League institution standing up and reminding people they are worth saving.

Not for the first time, the Bulls produced the goods amid great uncertainty and ran out worthy winners, for the second game running.

In truth it was a scrappy encounter often made scrappy by Tim Roby’s officiating, but in the greater scheme of things it could turn out to be priceless.

That it was chiselled on the back of outstanding performances from homegrown players such as James Donaldson, Tom Olbison and Danny Addy made it all the more pleasing.

But there is no doubting who has harnessed that collective spirit among a small, close-knit squad.

Step forward Francis Cummins.

The Bulls head coach, a picture of class and dignity throughout the shambles which has engulfed his squad, was down to the bare bones with the players he had available.

He said afterwards: “I wouldn’t kid you by saying what’s been happening is not going to affect me or the players because I think you have your moments.

“But you either give in or you fight it and try and do your best.

“That’s what you have to do, you have to keep dusting yourself off because the only alternative is to give in.

“People behind the scenes, people in the offices, people aren’t giving in at this club while there is something worth fighting for.”

London Broncos are rated as overwhelming favourites for the drop but they belied their reputation with a feisty display which suggested they will get better as the season goes on.

Tony Rea’s side were also hit with four injury blows during the match but they never went away and only in the final quarter was Bradford’s victory assured.

London handed debuts to a trio of overseas players following their arrival in the capital.

Ben Farrar and Josh Drinkwater formed the Broncos’ new half-back pairing while forwards Nick Slyney and Wigan loanee James Greenwood also featured.

The loss of Scruton meant that Manase Manuoakafoa and Adam Sidlow started in the front row, while Luke George continued on the right wing ahead of Elliot Kear.

The travails of the past week showed in the opening exchanges as the Bulls began sluggishly.

London, with Drinkwater combining well with hooker Scott Moore, made all the early running and George did well to field a testing high kick from Drinkwater.

Moments later Gale dropped the ball under no real pressure and the signs did not look good.

Indeed, when Bradford opened the scoring in the 11th minute it was against the run of play.

The try stemmed from captain Matt Diskin collecting possession from dummy half and finding Addy with a neat short offload.

Addy kept the move flowing with a pass to Adrian Purtell and he in turn found Jamie Foster outside him on the left flank.

Foster showed impressive pace to make considerable ground from inside his own half before showing intelligence to send the supporting Gale racing clear from 20 metres out.

The Bradford diehards roared their approval and Foster’s well-executed conversion encouraged hopes that the Bulls were destined to prevail.

Shortly after, London suffered a blow when full back Nesaisi Mataitonga was forced off through injury and replaced by George Griffin.

That prompted a switch which saw Farrar go to full back and James Cunningham into the halves, while Mason Caton-Brown was forced off moments later.

In the 19th minute, Drinkwater flighted a dangerous kick into the left corner and James Duckworth celebrated as if he had scored.

Roby had other ideas, however, and ruled he had knocked on before grounding the ball.

Moments later, the outstanding Anthony Mullally replaced Manuokafoa and immediately made his presence felt with a number of big carries.

Mullally went close to scoring after another formidable drive but was held by some desperate scrambling defence from the Broncos.

The loss of Scruton and indeed Garreth Carvell before him represented a huge blow to the Bulls but it should afford Mullally an opportunity to shine.

Although his initial loan period is one month, it is to be hoped that he will be stay on a long-term basis.

Mullally’s work gave the Bulls the field position to claim another try in the 25th minute when Sidlow emerged from a thicket of players to touch down and Foster improved the score to make it 12-0.

Sidlow was then given a breather as Olbison was introduced before London hit back in the 28th minute when Minns beat Brett Kearney to the ball in the right corner to ground a kick from Moore.

Drinkwater added the extras to halve Bradford’s lead but Mullally’s aggressive approach continued to keep the Bulls on the front foot.

Four minutes before half-time, the Bulls went agonisingly – and for George, painfully – close to a third try.

Gale and Henry combined to find the close-season signing from Huddersfield in the right corner and he appeared to have burst through at least two London defenders to score.

However, Roby ruled George was just short of the line and he was knocked out cold, receiving lengthy treatment before being replaced by Kear.

Two minutes before half-time, London spurned a golden opportunity to draw level when Kearney failed to gather a kick from the visitors.

Moore raced behind him to pick up the ball less than 20 metres out and it appeared inevitable that he would scamper clear, only for him to lose his footing just short of the line.

It was a monumental let-off for the Bulls but the Broncos continued to probe after the break and spent much of the third quarter of the match camped in Bradford’s half.

But Addy superbly finished off a delightful run and pass from Donaldson for a third Bradford try in the 61st minute, giving them some vital breathing space.

London were not finished, however, and Cunningham scored with 13 minutes remaining after a mistake from Foster, who failed to deal with a kick from Moore.

That made it 18-12 but Gale’s clever drop-goal with five minutes remaining settled home nerves and Olbison crashed over in the closing stages from Foster's pass to confirm a famous victory.

Comments (9)

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9:12am Mon 3 Mar 14

spanglishbull.uk says...

Axelf,
Have you read this,Francis Cummins,a man of great dignity.Look the word up in the dictionary,if you have one,you might learn then how to be a human being instead of a donkey.Sorry all you animals out there ,I was not comparing you to this cretin.
Axelf, Have you read this,Francis Cummins,a man of great dignity.Look the word up in the dictionary,if you have one,you might learn then how to be a human being instead of a donkey.Sorry all you animals out there ,I was not comparing you to this cretin. spanglishbull.uk
  • Score: -5

9:29am Mon 3 Mar 14

nosher says...

spanglishbull.uk wrote:
Axelf,
Have you read this,Francis Cummins,a man of great dignity.Look the word up in the dictionary,if you have one,you might learn then how to be a human being instead of a donkey.Sorry all you animals out there ,I was not comparing you to this cretin.
Calm down Spanglish. You are playing into the Rhino lovers hands lol
[quote][p][bold]spanglishbull.uk[/bold] wrote: Axelf, Have you read this,Francis Cummins,a man of great dignity.Look the word up in the dictionary,if you have one,you might learn then how to be a human being instead of a donkey.Sorry all you animals out there ,I was not comparing you to this cretin.[/p][/quote]Calm down Spanglish. You are playing into the Rhino lovers hands lol nosher
  • Score: 1

9:55am Mon 3 Mar 14

fedupwiththeBS says...

FC is doing a good job under the worst of circumstances and full credit to the man; a lot of coaches would have thrown their hand in by now.

However I wonder if bringing in a more experienced person such as James Lowes or even Glen Morrison might give the team and fans that extra bit of spark to carry the season?

just a thought.
FC is doing a good job under the worst of circumstances and full credit to the man; a lot of coaches would have thrown their hand in by now. However I wonder if bringing in a more experienced person such as James Lowes or even Glen Morrison might give the team and fans that extra bit of spark to carry the season? just a thought. fedupwiththeBS
  • Score: -3

10:31am Mon 3 Mar 14

spanglishbull.uk says...

Nosher,
The Rhino man actually lives here in Spain in a place called Alhaurin ,hence his name.He is actually Bradford born and bred and has no doubt never been to Headingley.
Nosher, The Rhino man actually lives here in Spain in a place called Alhaurin ,hence his name.He is actually Bradford born and bred and has no doubt never been to Headingley. spanglishbull.uk
  • Score: 1

12:21pm Mon 3 Mar 14

nosher says...

spanglishbull.uk wrote:
Nosher,
The Rhino man actually lives here in Spain in a place called Alhaurin ,hence his name.He is actually Bradford born and bred and has no doubt never been to Headingley.
Would have to take your word for that. There are 2 on here, with a very similar axle type name. One is terrys black chicken, I caught him logged on at work lol
[quote][p][bold]spanglishbull.uk[/bold] wrote: Nosher, The Rhino man actually lives here in Spain in a place called Alhaurin ,hence his name.He is actually Bradford born and bred and has no doubt never been to Headingley.[/p][/quote]Would have to take your word for that. There are 2 on here, with a very similar axle type name. One is terrys black chicken, I caught him logged on at work lol nosher
  • Score: 1

12:25pm Mon 3 Mar 14

hunsworthbull says...

Counted 7 London fans at odsal yesterday when they scored it would be nice to know if the rfl are helping with wage bill, cos cant see their home crowds being much better other than with away fans
Counted 7 London fans at odsal yesterday when they scored it would be nice to know if the rfl are helping with wage bill, cos cant see their home crowds being much better other than with away fans hunsworthbull
  • Score: 2

12:39pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Sheffieldbull says...

Spang', I may be wrong but I think that's his Father who lives in Coin, Spain (no doubt he's very proud of his little Keyboard Warrior) The particular 'item' that posts on here relies on his Daddy to buy him his LS6 season tickets so he can sing his L**ds United songs along with his peers in the South Stand. He once divulged this information on here some time ago whist blubbering like a baby because someone upset him. Because he gets depressed that people ignore his Alhurinrhino trolling efforts he uses other guises to attempt his windups....sad really, or as you might say 'un poco loco'
Spang', I may be wrong but I think that's his Father who lives in Coin, Spain (no doubt he's very proud of his little Keyboard Warrior) The particular 'item' that posts on here relies on his Daddy to buy him his LS6 season tickets so he can sing his L**ds United songs along with his peers in the South Stand. He once divulged this information on here some time ago whist blubbering like a baby because someone upset him. Because he gets depressed that people ignore his Alhurinrhino trolling efforts he uses other guises to attempt his windups....sad really, or as you might say 'un poco loco' Sheffieldbull
  • Score: 2

1:27pm Mon 3 Mar 14

northern pig says...

hunsworthbull wrote:
Counted 7 London fans at odsal yesterday when they scored it would be nice to know if the rfl are helping with wage bill, cos cant see their home crowds being much better other than with away fans
Funny you should say that,my thouights exactly.London's attendance at home last week was 1,380.how can you susstain superleague on crowds like that?impossible.give
n that they have just recruited a couple of players with NRL experience and on top of that,decamped to Barnet because they were skint. It stinks the house out.They are getting bankrolled from somewhere.I don't think you are far wrong with your observations.
[quote][p][bold]hunsworthbull[/bold] wrote: Counted 7 London fans at odsal yesterday when they scored it would be nice to know if the rfl are helping with wage bill, cos cant see their home crowds being much better other than with away fans[/p][/quote]Funny you should say that,my thouights exactly.London's attendance at home last week was 1,380.how can you susstain superleague on crowds like that?impossible.give n that they have just recruited a couple of players with NRL experience and on top of that,decamped to Barnet because they were skint. It stinks the house out.They are getting bankrolled from somewhere.I don't think you are far wrong with your observations. northern pig
  • Score: 0

1:38pm Mon 3 Mar 14

portugalbull says...

Pity you lot on here can't post something positive like the great result from the lads yesterday. Shows the spirit FC has got in the team. Even the crowd was bigger than expected though I suspect the total was 5500 not the 8500 reported in some quarters.
Way we keep loosing forwards may have to get Paul Medley into training, still wouldn't mind a loanee of his caliber.
Roll on Friday and hope for the same result at KC
CoyB,s
Pity you lot on here can't post something positive like the great result from the lads yesterday. Shows the spirit FC has got in the team. Even the crowd was bigger than expected though I suspect the total was 5500 not the 8500 reported in some quarters. Way we keep loosing forwards may have to get Paul Medley into training, still wouldn't mind a loanee of his caliber. Roll on Friday and hope for the same result at KC CoyB,s portugalbull
  • Score: 0

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