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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Bradford Bulls 46 Leeds Rhinos 18

2nd August 2002

By Leeds Rhinos

Super League leaders Bradford Bulls opened up a four-point lead after demolishing 12-man Leeds and exacting sweet revenge for their shock Challenge Cup defeat.

Leeds, the only visitors to win at Valley Parade in the last two seasons, never seriously threatened to repeat February's cup heroics even before the sensational dismissal of Great Britain forward Barrie McDermott.

WP – Home MPU

 The 30-year-old McDermott lost his cool 31 minutes into the derby when he began raining blows on Bradford front rower Stuart Fielden, his international team-mate, and left referee Steve Ganson with little option but to brandish the red card.

 The Rhinos were already trailing 22-6 at the time and, although they produced a brief rally, they were well beaten by the end as the Bulls provided an awesome demonstration of their power.

 They had taken a firm grip on the match after dominating a first half comedy of errors. They had four tries by half-time but three of them were gift-wrapped by the visitors.

 The pattern was set on five minutes when skipper Robbie Paul pounced on a handling error by his counterpart, full-back Francis Cummins, to touch down for the first try.

 And, although Leeds winger Karl Pratt struck back in similar fashion shortly afterwards after Bulls scrum-half Paul Deacon had lost the ball in a crunching two-man tackle, Bradford quickly seized control.

When Rhinos centre Tonie Carroll was unable to regather possession after palming down James Lowes' penalty kick to touch, Bulls left winger Lesley Vainikolo got his boot to the ball and won the race to the touchdown.

 The blunders continued, with Vainikolo grabbing a second try after Leeds winger Mark Calderwood failed to secure possession from Lowes' grubber kick, but right winger Tevita Vaikona, a fellow Tongan, scored a genuine class try on 28 minutes, his 17th of the season, after full-back Michael Withers had spun out of Pratt's tackle.

With Deacon kicking two conversions and Withers one, Bradford was looking on course for an easy victory as they led 22-6.

 But the dismissal of McDermott served only to spur Leeds to greater efforts and, after Ben Walker had pulled two points back with a penalty, they struck with a superbly-worked second try.

Walker's long pass created an overlap and Carroll timed his pass to perfection for Calderwood to finishing decisively at the corner and Walker added his second conversion.

 That cut Bradford's lead to 22-14 by half-time but the champions produced a power surge after the break with four more tries, three of them from close range.

 Lee Gilmour crossed after the ever alert James Lowes had taken a quickly tapped penalty, Fielden and Lowes both forced their way over from acting half-back and Withers claimed his 14th try of the season as the Rhinos defence cracked under intense pressure.

 Deacon, who spent 20 minutes in the blood bin in the first half, maintained his remarkable accuracy with six goals from as many attempts to take his tally for the season to 116.

Leeds at least managed to keep the champions scoreless for the last 15 minutes and claimed the final try of the match when centre Keith Senior forced his way over at the corner just before the end.

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