BULLS had Jordan Lilley absent for their key Championship game at Sheffield for an unusual reason, but young Leeds prospect Corey Johnson ensured the half-back wasn’t missed too much.

Bradford won 30-10 in the play-off four-pointer, with dual-registration talent Johnson impressing in both attack and defence.

Interim head coach Mark Dunning said: “Corey was outstanding. He’s a hooker, but he’s proved how good he is because he’s slotted into the halves and didn’t look out of place.

“It was a big miss having Jordan out but Corey did a sterling job.

“Jordan was at his brother’s wedding, which was cancelled four times because of Covid. He’d asked John Kear’s permission for it off a while ago and I thought it was only right to honour that.

“We’ve known about it for a long time, prepared for it, and that was why Corey has been with us for a week or two.”

Second-row Alex Mellor was also in the Bradford side on dual-registration from Rhinos, a former Bulls favourite with real Super League experience.

Dunning mused: “It’s a great coup to get him in and it’s testament to Leeds. I have a really good relationship with Rohan Smith and Jason Davidson there.

“They make players available for us like Alex Mellor. And anybody at this club would welcome him with open arms every day of the week.”

There was less good news for Brandon Pickersgill, the third new face in the side.

After the game, Dunning said: “He’s gone to hospital after getting a knee in the back. It’s similar to the one he had at Dewsbury the last time it happened.

“Fingers crossed it’s just a bit of muscle damage.”

Despite Dunning making eight changes to the side that lost at Featherstone, there was nothing to be alarmed about.

Dunning said: “Matty Dawson-Jones had a bit of a knock, but he could have played, and other than that there’s no new injuries really.

“Chester Butler was back today and I thought he was very good. We’re starting to see some of the injuries subside and some of the lads come back to fitness, which is very welcome.”

On the game, Dunning said: “I don’t think it was a brilliant spectacle, but any two points away from home is important, and it puts some of those people who say we can’t beat teams above us to bed.

“We won’t get carried away, but we’ll debrief on Tuesday and then I’m going to give the players a week off and ask them to rest and recuperate, look after themselves and spend time with their families.

“Then we’ll get the players back in for a full week’s training before Dewsbury.

“I’d rather not have the week off, and this is why I don’t get why we had to have three games in nine days beforehand.”