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Bradford Bulls given a B-rough ride against Huddersfield Giants!
Bradford Bulls 6 Huddersfield Giants 20
Mick Potter hit the nail on the head.
“I think the scoreline was about right,” said the Bulls coach.
“Huddersfield kicked the ball better than us, they kicked it at the right time and they boxed us in.
“Nothing changed from the first half to the second. The energy levels drained out of us and they got better and better.
“They earned the right to slowly accumulate points.”
That, in a nutshell, pretty much summed up yesterday’s match.
Huddersfield, guided around the field by the educated boot of Danny Brough, got their tactics spot on at a rain-soaked Odsal.
While Bradford matched Huddersfield in the arm wrestle up front, they sorely lacked the kind of creativity which Brough and Scott Grix afforded the Giants.
Brough laid the platform for his team’s victory, creating a brilliant opening try for Jermaine McGillvary, kicking eight points and weighing in with a late try himself.
Potter added pointedly: “There was more to it than just Danny Brough, there was the kick-chase as well and the next few plays after that.”
How the injury-crippled Bulls could have used a player of Brough’s ilk yesterday.
They were again decimated by injury – and lost Adrian Purtell to a hamstring strain during the second half – but Karl Pryce returned after a two-match absence to line up at full back.
Pryce was trapped by Brough’s early grubber kick, forcing the Bulls into an early drop-out, but they soon steadied themselves and made an encouraging start.
Platt made considerable ground before his progress was halted and former Bradford academy product Joe Wardle then conceded a penalty which Danny Addy converted to put the hosts ahead in the ninth minute.
Jeffries’ intelligent kicking soon came to the fore and, with Bryn Hargreaves and Manase Manuokafoa again punching holes up front, Bradford had plenty of decent early field position.
Huddersfield looked to Brough for inspiration but the Bulls remained largely in the ascendancy.
Some fine dummy running across the face of the Huddersfield defence from Matt Diskin led to the Bulls hooker clipping a teasing grubber behind Giants full back Aaron Murphy.
As Whitehead looked to ground the ball, Murphy smothered the danger, yet it hinted at the possibilities on offer for the Bulls.
Then out of nowhere came the emergence of Huddersfield as a creative force.
It came in the 15th minute when they conjured a truly magnificent score thanks to a piece of individual brilliance from Brough.
Just inside his own half, the half-back collected possession and, with a combination of searing pace and clever footwork, left a clutch of Bradford defenders trailing in his wake.
Brough then showed intelligence to flight a superb kick into the right corner on the last tackle, which fell perfectly for the onrushing McGillvary to collect and ground.
Brough could not add the extras from a difficult position but the try poured confidence into the visitors and midway through the first half an audacious pass from scrum half Grix found Leroy Cudjoe in space down the right channel.
He kicked inside hoping for a team-mate to read his intentions but none was forthcoming and Adrian Purtell fielded the danger.
Jeffries then overcooked a kick behind the Giants defence and smacked the sodden turf in frustration.
There was no shortage of endeavour from the Bulls but genuine chances remained scarce and a promising move came to nothing when Jeffries collected a pass from Diskin but threw an offload straight to Huddersfield hooker Luke Robinson.
In the 24th minute, the visitors fashioned a sweeping move which saw the ball go through Robinson, Brough and Grix before Luke George failed to collect the latter’s long pass at the left corner.
As the interval approached, Huddersfield began to dominate territory.
There was also a tactical switch as Shaun Ainscough and Pryce swapped positions, with Huddersfield piling on the pressure as half-time approached.
Yet some fine play from Olbison and Diskin led to a Bulls penalty on Huddersfield’s 20-metre line. That created the field position for Jeffries and Bateman to combine superbly with Ainscough, whose neat short pass put Platt in at the corner.
Jeffries failed to convert and three minutes later Huddersfield hit Bradford with a vicious sucker punch as rain began to fall again.
Bateman’s kick was collected by Murphy and he found George advancing at pace from his own 20-metre line.
George’s pace took him past several Bradford defenders and he sprinted from deep inside his own half to cross the line, albeit aided by slips from Ainscough and Olivier Elima.
Brough converted to put the Giants 10-6 up at the break.
Three minutes after the resumption, he booted a penalty from distance after Bradford were punished for holding down.
Murphy was then flattened by an implacable challenge from Pryce after he collected David Faiumu’s pass and threatened to burst clear.
In the 50th minute, Addy replaced Diskin at hooker and as the second half progressed it was Huddersfield who began to dominate.
Again it was Brough’s left foot to the fore, as two stabbed kicks in quick succession forced Bateman and then Whitehead to hack the ball clear.
Moments later, referee Thierry Alibert, who certainly did the Bulls no favours yesterday, awarded the Giants a penalty which Brough converted from distance.
For all the Bulls’ endeavour, there was precious little inspiration.
With 17 minutes remaining, tempers flared as both sets of players clashed on the halfway line, leading to Giants forward Luke O’Donnell being shown a yellow card.
Jeffries then found Bateman and he showed outstanding strength to power past several Huddersfield defenders before his progress was halted.
But Huddersfield’s victory was confirmed with four minutes remaining when Robinson’s short pass sent the onrushing Brough over and he added the extras.