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Matt Diskin stirs life into Bradford Bulls as he leads by example
As the Bulls fell 16-0 behind during last weekend’s Challenge Cup tie against Catalan, the result looked to be heading only one way.
Matt Diskin, however, had other ideas.
The skipper led by example as Bradford roared back from the dead to march into the quarter-finals.
It was stirring stuff from Francis Cummins’ players and, in their hour of need, leaders such as Diskin stood tall.
The four-time Grand Final winner began to dictate play from the ruck and supply the bullets for Luke Gale, Lee Gaskell and Brett Kearney to fire.
Diskin reflected: “It’s hard to put into words exactly what last Sunday’s fightback and victory meant to us, both in terms of our confidence levels and the season as a whole.
“After Easter Monday (at Wigan), we were obviously desperate to respond and get a much-needed win.
“After going 16-0 down after quarter of an hour, most people would have written us off, given our recent form. But we knew what we were capable of.
“We managed to generate some solid go-forward, with the boys up front working very hard towards the close of the first half, and we responded admirably.
“It was not 100 per cent our best but the comeback allowed us to show glimpses of our best rugby – and against an in-form Catalan team.”
The 33-20 victory over Laurent Fraysinnous’ side earned the Bulls another home tie in the last eight against Warrington. For the time being, however, all dreams of Wembley will be shelved.
Focus has switched back to the task of trying to stay in Super League and beating the Wolves tomorrow.
Diskin said: “To make the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup means a great deal to us a club and we’re relishing the prospect of tackling Warrington again in less than six weeks’ time.
“But there are some massive Super League games coming up beforehand, starting this weekend.
“Ensuring our long-term status in the sport’s top flight is clearly a priority but the thought of having a chance of being 80 minutes from Wembley is mouth-watering to say the least.”
A repeat of last week’s display may just be enough to see off Warrington tomorrow.
Diskin, who returned after missing the Leeds and Wigan defeats over Easter, said: “I was immensely proud of what the boys served up last weekend and we will be looking to produce more of the same.
“On a personal note, it felt great to get back out there. I am feeling fit and healthy and am raring to go for the second half of the season.
“Equally pleasing was the way in which Jay Pitts appeared just to slot into the team and our back row. He gave 80 minutes of solid rugby league and took very little time to blast off any cobwebs, before causing Catalan plenty of problems.
“You wouldn’t have thought he had only had one day of full training with us before being thrown straight into the action.
“Joe Arundel is now extremely excited at the prospect of making his debut for us in front of the Bradford faithful this weekend.
“The support which we received last Sunday was phenomenal. At times, it felt as though there was another man on the pitch – playing for us – and it certainly had an effect on the Dragons either side of the interval.”
More of the same would do nicely for Diskin and his team tomorrow.
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