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Bradford Bulls: Manase Manuokafoa mad for it in Manchester
Manase Manuokafoa has set his sights on another victory against Leeds this weekend after revealing the tumultuous Good Friday win was the highlight of his career.
The Bulls prop played his part in a highly impressive team performance which accounted for Brian McDermott’s men at an emotionally fraught and rain-soaked Odsal on April 6.
Bradford, minus ten players through injury and suspension, outfought and ultimately outplayed the Super League and World Club champions to win 12-4 in front of a crowd of over 20,000. The success came at the height of the Quest for Survival campaign, where fans rallied round in remarkable fashion to help raise over £500,000 to help keep the club alive.
Manuokafoa – who is hoping to stay at Odsal beyond his current one-year deal – has proved a shrewd signing following his close-season arrival from Parramatta, and is now eyeing a repeat performance and result in the Magic Weekend clash on Sunday.
The Tonga international said: “Coming on the back of what the club was going through in April, beating Leeds was a great win.
“I was talking to my wife about it and said ‘that’s got to be up there’.
“What we went through as a club, emotionally as players, it was unbelievable to go out there in front of over 20,000 fans and get that result. There were 20,000 fans but it felt like 50,000!
“It was really enjoyable and I was proud to be a part of it.
“Leeds are a top side, the champions of the world, and it was a fantastic feeling to beat them after everything the club was going through. It was the highlight of my Bulls career so far.
“The Rhinos are obviously our biggest rivals and we’re looking forward to playing them at the Etihad Stadium now.
“It would be great for the fans and the club if we could beat them again.”
Manuokafoa, 27, is relishing the prospect of playing at the home of Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.
He is not a huge football fan but revealed his teenage stepson Micah had begun to take a keen interest in the game since the family moved to Bradford during the winter.
He explained: “Since we moved over here I’ve got into it more with my son.
“English football is not as big over in Australia but there was still coverage of it on television and I knew who the big teams were.
“My son and my wife went to a Manchester United game last month and they loved it. The way they were treated was first-class and it was an experience they will never forget.
“I missed it because we were playing Huddersfield that day but they made it back to my game afterwards.
“I’ve not played at a big ground like the Etihad before and I’m looking forward to it – in fact I can’t wait.”