Leeds Rhinos 28 Bradford Bulls 18

Nick Scruton

Leeds got their engage Super League campaign back on track with victory over Bradford Bulls at Headingley Carnegie. It makes it four from four for the Rhinos in this seasons derby clashes against the Bulls.

With the Rhinos eager to put their recent defeats behind them and with Bradford desperate to get points to keep them in contention of the play offs it set up a thrilling match. The opening encounters were fast and furious and it was not long before tempers flared.

After five minutes Michael Platt’s tackle on Scott Donald forced a Leeds goal-line drop-out and then a scuffle between Platt and Rob Burrow left the Leeds scrum-half bloodied face before both were sent to the sin bin. Minutes after this incident the Bulls broke through with their first try of the game. Ben Jeffries making an angled run before offloading to Sykes who was able to find his way through for the try. Former Leeds captain Iestyn Harris kicked the conversion.

There was further misery for Leeds when their leading try scorer, Scott Donald was forced off with a rib injury. With 15 minutes gone the Rhinos hit back after Jamie Langley knocked on. With the following set starting deep in the Bradford end, Jamie Peacock and Webb created the overlap for replacement Jordan Tansey to cross. Sinfield however was unable to land the conversion so Bradford were still two points ahead.

The Rhinos were able to put this right four minutes later when brilliant play from Matt Diskin, who after sprinting through the centre and confusing the Bradford defence with two dummy passes released Luke Burgess to put the Rhinos ahead. Sinfield this time was able to add the conversion. Just before the half hour mark after collecting Rob Burrow’s pass Jamie Peacock was able to use his force to make good ground to set up Nick Scruton, another Rhinos replacement, to score. Sinfield added the conversion but before half time Bradford scored a crucial try to keep them close to their biggest rivals.

Iestyn Harris’ chip caught the Leeds defence out and Evans was the recipient of the neat ball and was then able to battle past the Rhinos for the try. Harris’ conversion brought Bradford within 4 points going into half time. Within two minutes of the restart Bradford were in again and once again it was a high kick from Harris that helped set up the try. Danny McGuire was only able to palm Harris’ kick into the path of Wayne Godwin who gladly ran in for the try. Harris added the pressure to the Rhinos with the conversion to give the Bulls an 18-16 lead.

Leeds now needed a break to bring them back in the game and this came on 60 minutes when Andy Lynch conceded a penalty for offside. Diskin’s subsequent chip through kick was collected by Carl Ablett who was able to force his way over the line. Burrow, standing in for Sinfield who was off the field, converted the try to give the Rhinos a 24-18 lead. It looked like Leeds had extended their lead moments later after Sykes knocked on, but Keith Senior’s offload to Burrow was ruled to be forward. Another chance came eight minutes from time but, once again, it was not taken – McGuire making a double movement in touching down.

Leeds almost paid the price after Jeffries forced another goal-line drop-out with six minutes left. However, Bradford’s set was wasted when, attempting to find an overlap, Chris Nero found only the touchline.

The last few minutes proved to be tense as both teams looked for another score and it was left for Danny McGuire to seal the win with the final play of the game. Sinfield converted to get the Rhinos back to winning ways with a 28-18 win.