Bradford sail past London

Form team Bradford Bulls moved a step nearer to a fifth-successive Grand Final appearance and consigned London Broncos to history after a 44-22 win.

Five tries in a devastating 18-minute spell early in the second half brought the Bulls a ninth successive victory in Friday?s engage Super League elimination play-off which earns them a home tie in next Saturday?s semi-final against Warrington or Hull.

And, despite a valiant effort, defeat meant the end of the road for the Broncos, who will be known as Harlequins when they move back to the Stoop for the start of next season.

Blockbusting winger Lesley Vainikolo scored two tries to take his tally for the season to 29 while skipper Jamie Peacock registered the 50th of his career as the 2003 champions came good after a shaky start.

Bradford had veteran club captain Robbie Paul filling in at scrum-half in place of Paul Deacon, the league?s leading points-scorer who fell ill on the eve of the game, and little else went right for them in a poor opening quarter.

Handling mistakes by Shontayne Hape, Ian Henderson and Lee Radford in the first 10 minutes allowed the visitors to build some momentum and it paid off when a grubber kick by London?s former Bradford centre Paul Sykes rebounded off the left arm of Bulls centre Ben Harris into the grateful arms of winger Jon Wells, who had the simplest of tasks in touching down for the game?s first try.

London led 6-0 when referee Karl Kirkpatrick awarded the conversion to Sykes after the touch judges disagreed over whether the ball curled inside the left upright.

But Bradford were inspired by the penetrative running of Australian second rower Brad Meyers and the scores were level on 26 minutes when a powerful burst by heavyweight substitute Joe Vagana set up the position for Iestyn Harris to jink his way through the Broncos defence with the aid of a dummy and sidestep.

Harris? conversion made it 6-6 and Bradford went in front when Vainikolo maintained his impressive strike rate, racing onto a kick from livewire hooker Henderson to claim his side? second try.

Bradford have been notoriously slow starters in recent weeks but it took them just two minutes of the second half to increase their lead, courtesy of their inspirational captain.

Peacock, who will leave Odsal for Headingley at the end of the season, showed what the Bradford fans will be missing when he took Harris? pass and used his immense strength to shrug off four defenders to claim a notable solo try.

That was just the encouragement the Bulls needed and they wrapped up the victory with two further tries in a three-minute spell.

Centre Hape touched down after Andy Lynch had re-gathered Paul?s chip over the London defence and then Henderson plucked the ball out of the air from Harris? perfectly-judged kick.

Bradford were simply irresistible at that stage, carving open the Broncos defence at will, and it was no surprise when Vainikolo and Harris both scored their second tries to pile on the agony for the shell-shocked visitors.

Harris took his goal tally to five from seven attempts to extend his side?s lead to 38-6 with still a quarter of the game to go.

The Londoners salvaged some respect with well-worked tries from second rower Solomon Haumono and full-back Zebastian Luisi, both goaled by Sykes, but the Bulls struck back with the best score off the match, substitute Karl Pryce finishing some dazzling play by older brother Leon and the evergreen Paul with his side?s eighth try.

The Broncos finished a well-beaten side but at least they had the satisfaction of wrapping up the scoring with Haumono?s second try.

Bradford: L. Pryce, Johnson, B. Harris, Hape, Vainikolo, I. Harris, Paul, Fielden, Henderson, Morley, Peacock, Meyers, Radford.

Replacements: Vagana, K. Pryce, Lynch, Langley.

London: Lucky Luisi, Wells, Smith, Sykes, Bradley-Qalilawa, Mateo, Dorn, Trindall, Highton, Tookey, Haumono, Hopkins, Ablett.

Replacements: Purdham, Mbu, Williams, Temata.

Bradford (10) 44. Tries: I. Harris 2, Vainikolo 2, Peacock, Hape, Henderson, K. Pryce. Goals: I. Harris 5, K. Pryce.

London (6) 22. Tries: Wells, Haumono 2, Lucky Luisi. Goals: Sykes 3.

Referee: Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington)

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