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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Bradford Bulls 12 Leeds Rhinos 26

5th June 2004

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos recorded their first ever home and away double of the Bulls in the Super League era with a commanding performance, that showed the versatility of the Leeds team with Willie Poching playing the majority of the game at centre.

Tony Smith's side put themselves on course for victory with two tries in the space of four first-half minutes from Keith Senior and Willie Poching.

WP – Home MPU

New signing Ali Lauitiiti then opened his Rhinos account before Andrew Dunemann put the game beyond the Bulls in the second half. Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield weighed in with 10 points from five goals.

Both sides felt the weight of expectation almost immediately as they ran out in front of a crowd of 23,375, the second-highest in the history of Super League.   Yet despite the electric atmosphere, it took the game some time to come to life after a stop-start opening quarter.

The Rhinos suffered an early blow when prop Ryan Bailey was injured in the first tackle of the game and had to leave the field.  Bradford registered the opening points with a Paul Deacon penalty after 10 minutes but Sinfield levelled with a kick of his own after breaks by Richard Mathers and Danny McGuire gave Leeds good position.

The Bulls were the next to lose a man injured when Leon Pryce popped a rib cartilage in a collision with Matt Diskin.
Leeds then snatched the initiative when Dunemann's high kick bounced awkwardly between Bulls pair Stuart Reardon and Michael Withers and McGuire gathered to send Senior over in the corner.

A second touchdown followed immediately as Leeds pulled off the rare feat of winning a scrum against the head.  The Bulls were caught flat-footed as the Rhinos switched quickly from defence to attack and the home side could do nothing as Poching took Dunemann's long pass and stretched over.

Leeds took a firm grip of the game just before the interval with a slick move that yielded former New Zealand Warrior Lauitiiti's first try for the club in his second appearance.

Rob Burrow, Dave Furner and McGuire were all involved before Senior kicked a loose ball back into Lauitiiti's hands and the Kiwi jogged through and made it 18-2 at the break.

The Bulls forced their way back into contention with their first try of the night six minutes into the second half.
Robbie Paul was held just short of the line after a run from dummy half but the ball was quickly spread wide by Deacon and Karl Pratt for Lesley Vainikolo to power his way over.

Deacon's touchline conversion brought the Bulls back within 10 points but Leeds' response was swift.
Joe Vagana appeared to have broken up a dangerous Rhinos attack by intercepting a Dunemann pass but immediately lost the ball.

Poching regathered and Burrow put Dunemann through a gap for a try Sinfield converted.  Bradford rallied and pulled a try back 13 minutes from time when Deacon's long pass stretched the Leeds defence and Paul Johnson pushed the ball wide for Reardon to force his way over.  It proved mere consolation for the Bulls as Sinfield put the seal on the game when he landed a penalty from distance to complete the scoring.
 

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