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Bradford Bulls power into cup fifth round with Shaun Ainscough and Elliott Whitehead hat-tricks
Bulls 72, Doncaster 6
Shortly after 3pm this afternoon, the draw for the Carnegie Challenge Cup fifth round will be made at Broadcasting Tower on Woodhouse Lane in Leeds.
The good news for Bulls fans is that their team will be in the hat after yesterday’s massacre of Championship One part-timers Doncaster.
The game was effectively over as a serious contest in about the 14th minute. At that point Matt Diskin had just gone over for Bradford’s third try, helping them into a 16-6 lead after Doncaster had stunned Odsal by edging ahead inside the first minute.
The bad news for the Bulls is that their fifth-round opponents will provide a far sterner test than Doncaster did yesterday.
There will be a greater challenge in a fortnight’s time – there has to be. It cannot be this easy again.
That is not to belittle or undermine the efforts of Tony Miller’s men. Far from it. They simply could not cope with the power, strength and size of Mick Potter’s team.
These are players – and this is a Bulls team – who have done serious damage to Super League opposition this season.
St Helens and Leeds, last season’s Grand Finalists, were beaten at Odsal in recent weeks and deservedly so. So in all reality, Doncaster never stood much chance.
The Dons train less than a handful of times a week in the evenings and play their rugby on a part-time basis. The gulf in class was painfully obvious at times.
Their early try was as good as it got for the visitors after Danny Addy fumbled the ball straight from Doncaster’s kick-off.
That led to the visitors forging ahead inside the opening minute as a ten-metre scrum culminated in prop Russ Spiers crashing over from first receiver.
Former Bradford academy starlet Keiran Hyde added the simple conversion but the Bulls soon awoke from their slumber and fashioned an immediate response.
They quickly pinned Doncaster back towards their own line and some neat handling between Matt Diskin and Ben Jeffries saw Whitehead ground the ball in the right corner.
The home tide continued apace and in the eighth minute another piece of intelligent play saw Diskin find Ainscough.
Ainscough, deployed at full back but always an attacking threat, sent a neat grubber kick behind the Doncaster defence and Jeffries touched down.
Addy claimed his second conversion and the Bulls were 12-6 up and in control.
Whitehead was a constant menace at right centre, breaking Doncaster’s line three times in the opening ten minutes with a combination of pace and raw strength.
Manuokafao and Hargreaves again set the tone up front with powerful displays in the front row, continuing their recent rich form, and Michael Platt was denied in the left corner in the 12th minute.
Two minutes later though, the Bulls had their third try when Diskin went over from close range, Addy’s conversion attempt rebounding off the left post.
The Bulls were proving simply too strong and fast for their opponents and Hargreaves was replaced by Kopczak midway through the first half.
Moments later, Doncaster enjoyed a rare attacking sortie as centre Lee Waterman broke inside the left channel, only for Jamie Langley’s fine tackle to halt his progress.
Bateman then came on for Tom Olbison to mark his first appearance after a two-match ban which ruled him out of the Easter holiday victories over Leeds and Widnes.
Yet Doncaster, to their credit, continued to probe and earned a penalty deep in Bulls territory as Kyle Kesik was held up just short of the line.
After Doncaster’s brief purple patch had ended, the pendulum quickly swung back in Bradford’s favour and they grabbed their fourth try in the 24th minute.
Diskin caused havoc with some neat footwork on Doncaster’s ten-metre line and, although he was stopped in his tracks, Jeffries found Bateman and his delightful flicked pass allowed Ainscough to saunter over from close range.
Addy landed his third goal from four attempts – and Diskin soon had his second try after beating a clutch of Doncaster defenders to touch down from close range.
Ainscough joined Diskin in claiming a brace when Kopczak displayed his ball-handling skills with a powerful drive and offload to Jeffries.
Jeffries kept the move flowing with a pass to Lulia and he unselfishly ushered Ainscough over inside the left channel for a try which Addy converted.
With the Bulls 32-6 up after 30 minutes, the game was well and truly up for Doncaster. The problem for them was that another 50 minutes of punishment beckoned.
Sure enough, in the 34th minute another simple offload from the impressive Jeffries allowed Bateman to march under the posts for a try converted by Addy. It was all too easy.
Rookie Callum Windley replaced Diskin at hooker to warm applause in the 37th minute and Doncaster lost loose forward Craig Robinson to injury on the stroke of half-time.
Adrian Purtell went close to plunging over in the right corner five minutes after the break but was narrowly denied.
Two minutes later, Bateman drove at the heart of the Doncaster defence, powering up to their 20-metre line and finding Windley. He was tackled but the Bulls kept the ball alive and some slick handling led to Purtell sending Kopczak crashing over from close range for a try which Addy converted.
Five minutes later, after Doncaster dropped out under their posts, Lulia powered clear for a well-earned score and Addy’s conversion took the Bulls to the 50-point mark.
Doncaster then enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure but some obstinate defending kept them at bay.
The Bulls claimed their tenth try of the game in the 58th minute when Whitehead skipped through an undermanned Doncaster defence and Addy landed his eighth goal.
Lulia a;so outmuscled the defence to power clear inside the left channel soon after and then Ainscough showed neat footwork to weave over for his hat-trick score.
With four minutes remaining, Whitehead pounced on a loose ball and beat his man to complete his second treble of the season, while Addy claimed a tenth goal from 13 attempts.
Attendance: 3,210 * Heath L’Estrange has been included in an initial 29-man Exiles squad for this year’s International Origin Series.
The Exiles, drawn from overseas talent available from the Stobart Super League clubs, will take on England in two games over the summer.