Huddersfield Giants 52 Bradford Bulls 26
BRADFORD Bulls were today relegated from Super League for the first time in the club’s history after falling to defeat at neighbours Huddersfield.
The club’s fate was sealed after they lost an error-strewn encounter but they at least went down fighting, as Jimmy Lowes promised when he took the reins last month.
Luke George, recalled to the side in his first appearance since Lowes took charge, scored twice against his former club during an evenly-balanced opening 40 minutes.
But Paul Anderson’s side, who included six former Bradford players in their line-up, were ultimately too strong at the stadium where the Bulls’ last trophy was won in the 2006 World Club Challenge against Wests Tigers.
The Bulls will now ply their trade in the Championship next season in what will be their first campaign outside the top flight since 1974.
The club’s demotion caps a disastrous year in which they entered administration for the second time in 18 months and lost key players and were docked six points as a consequence.
George took a pass from Luke Gale to put Bradford ahead but Huddersfield were soon level when Jake Connor powered over the line from close range.
Adam O’Brien then darted over to restore the Bulls’ lead but the Giants soon struck again through Ukuma Ta’ai.
George the collected a crossfield kick from Lee Gaskell to score his second in the right corner but three more home tries from Luke Robinson, Chris Bailey and Jermaine McGillvary put Huddersfield 26-16 up at the break.
Brett Kearney replied for the Bulls straight after the restart but Brett Ferres then added a sixth home try from Robinson’s short pass.
Joe Wardle, who was nurtured in the Bradford academy, then raced 60 metres to score before McGillvary plunged over in the right corner his second and then completed his hat-trick soon after.
The Bulls struck again when Kearney grabbed his second in front of the 500 or so travelling supporters, who sang with gusto throughout on an emotional afternoon which saw Ta’ai complete his brace in the closing stages.
Last month the Bulls said they planned to take their six-point penalty for entering administration to the High Court but they now seem likely to shelve that course of action.
With London Broncos having been demoted last weekend, Bradford have now filled the second relegation spot and must prepare to rebuild their squad ahead of potential trips to places such as Dewsbury, Featherstone, Halifax and Batley next season.