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The game, played in Huddersfield in the U.K this morning was a fiercely contested match but the Bulls revelled in the slippery conditions to run out impressive winners in front of a parochial English crowd.
Full credit to Brian Noble and his players for their mighty display and there were some fantastic tries scored by the Bulls, considering they were without two of their main stars in Robbie Paul and sharpshooter Paul Deacon. Both players were out through injury but their replacements Karl Pratt and especially Leon Pryce filled the void superbly with Pryce scoring the try of the match with a fine solo effort through the Panthers defence that showed strength, skill and pace to score in the corner and take the Bulls out to an 8-0 lead.
John Lang?s men will be bitterly disappointed with the result but too may fundamental errors cost the Panthers any chance of victory with Rhys Wesser having an off night, spilling the ball on numerous occasions when in an attacking position.
The Bulls forward pack, lead by Paul Anderson and Stuart Fielden punished the Panthers in both attack and defence while winger Lesley Vainikolo made some damaging runs and scored the opening try, out-jumping Rhys Wesser to plant the ball down inches from the dead ball line.
The Bulls will now head into the Super League full of confidence and they open their title defence against Wigan, last years beaten grand finalists while the Panthers have time to lick their wounds, including a long flight back to Australia and prepare for their opening match against the Andrew Johns led Newcastle Knights.
The World Club Challenge is growing in stature by the year and has become an integral part of the season for both the NRL and ESL and here?s hoping the champions of both competitions can always give the game the respect it deserves.