A NEW look Bradford Bulls put on a fine first half attacking display to defeat Newcastle Thunder 36-20 at Odsal this evening.

Mark Dunning’s side ran out wearing their third kit, which featured the Pride rainbow across the top of the shirt, as well as on the shorts and socks.

Bulls held Pride celebrations for the LGBTQ+ community all day too, as they aimed to show that they are a club open to all.

In their new look strip, it didn’t take long for Bulls to get into the swing of things as top scorer Kieran Gill put the ball down for the hosts. It was mercurial man Dec Patton who played a delightful grubber kick through the Newcastle backline to the onrushing Gill- the left centre collecting the ball in the in-goal area and sending the home support into raptures.

Bradford looked to have their tails up and in comparison to the previous weeks, there was a real intent to attack.

They were rewarded for their attacking persistence as Thomas Doyle doubled their try tally, picking the ball up off Jordan Lilley, before dancing his way through several Newcastle tackles- a try which immediately had the Bulls faithful on their feet. Patton added the extras to make it 12-0 to Bradford.

Doyle, who had already scored one try, then made a piercing break from his own half, cutting through the centre of the field, however, he was brought down just as the try line edged closer. Gill couldn’t make use of Bradford’s brilliance as he knocked the ball on from a Jordan Lilley lay off.

On minute 26 it was Bradford’s turn to defend. Throughout the first half the hosts had put on a resilient defensive display but on this occasion, Newcastle found space on the right-hand side, but a knock on scuppered their chances of halving the deficit.

The hosts were soon to be back on the front foot again and the Patton-Gill partnership was in full effect for the second time of the evening.

Patton collected the ball in centre field once again, and then played a lofted kick up to Gill, who pounced and pounded the ball down for his second try. Once more, Patton added the extras to send Bulls into an 18-0 lead.

Another break from Bradford saw Lilley race from his own half into Newcastle territory, but once more a man in white was brought to the floor. Another knock on then followed to prevent Mark Dunning’s side running away with the game prior to the break.

The first half drama wasn’t over yet, in fact far from it. A ruckus soon followed and Tom Holroyd and Jake Shorrocks were sent off, both sides being reduced to 12 men for the rest of the game. Holroyd sent Shorrocks to the floor with a right blow to the face.

One minute from the interval and Bradford stormed over yet again, AJ Wallace bursting onto a crash ball, before racing home from 40 metres. Patton made it 24-0 to send the hosts in at half-time in cruise control.

The second half began in a stop-start nature, with both sides struggling to gain any attacking momentum.

However, substitute Ant Walker produced a moment of magic to set the ball rolling for Bulls in the second period, the interchange man powering his way through the centre of Newcastle’s defence, before laying the ball off to Patton.

The latter saw an opportunity and bundled his way past two defenders to put the ball over for the hosts, and the number six converted his own try to take the score to 30-0.

Despite the vast improvements in Bradford’s attacking motion, three quickfire tries were conceded by their backline, and very soft ones at that.

Newcastle took full advantage of a consecutive penalty count, Lewis Peachey grounding the ball prior to the extras being added, 30-6.

Jack Johnson then raced onto the end of a kick, and he also managed to ground the ball, but the conversion was sent wide.

Finally, Foggin-Johnston was taken out mid-air, before having the ball stripped off him, but Johnson was eventually awarded the try to take the scores to 30-14.

There was still time for more drama as Doyle went over for his second of the day for the hosts. After Ben Evans was ruled to have been held up, Bradford’s flair man went on a mission and bulldozed his way over, and the conversion was added. 36-14.

Johnson did claim his hat-trick try for the visitors to reduce the scores to 36-20, but it was too little, too late and Bulls edged to an important home win, the perfect response to last week’s defeat at home to York.

Bradford return to action on Thursday 2 June as they travel to Widnes Vikings.