JOHN Kear hopes Bulls will be rewarded with victory at home to Leigh on Sunday if they match the level of performance they produced against Widnes.

The head coach was in turn frustrated but mostly proud of his players after their narrow and controversial defeat at Vikings.

Surveying a heart-breaking 25-20 Championship defeat, he said: “One of the goals on our tip sheet was not to allow them (Widnes) to start strong, and we didn’t do that.

“We didn’t start very well and they looked more enthused and were running harder and hitting harder and we were 12 points behind before you blinked an eye, and that is something we have to look at.

“But credit to the desire and character of the Bradford Bulls payer as we clawed our way back once, we clawed our way back twice and with a bit of luck we would have returned with the spoils.”

The Bulls were only denied what would surely have been a notable victory by touch judge Liam Rush ruling out Elliot Minchella’s last-minute try, and referee Gareth Hewer seemingly changing his mind about awarding the score and giving the Vikings a penalty for obstruction.

Kear added: “I thought it was a tremendous game of rugby league, it was a great advert for the Championship, and you have to applaud Widnes for that, but I thought my players were magnificent.

“At half-time we had given ourselves a great chance by coming back from 12-0 down (to trail 14-12) but we lost a bit of discipline in that third quarter, letting them camp on our line, but we finished with a real flourish.

“Fair do’s for Widnes for being in front, but fair do’s to my boys for grinding their way back, and what a great finish to a great game.

“Performance-wise it is another step forward but we just didn’t get the reward for our efforts, but hopefully this week we will do.”