Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
Bradford flexed their muscles ahead of their World Club Challenge meeting with Wests Tigers but the Australian champions will not be fooled by the Bulls? 30-6 defeat in a friendly (trial) game by Warrington.
The engage Super League champions were soundly beaten but they fielded just three members of October?s Grand Final-winning team and only five players who are likely to line up against the Tigers at Huddersfield on February 3.
With up to eight regulars set to return for the World Club Challenge, plus newcomers Chris McKenna and Marcus Bai, Bradford left the door open for several youngsters to force their way into contention.
Scrum-half Matty Brooks caught the eye, while assistant coach Steve McNamara singled out centre Ryan Atkins and full-back Dave Halley, but dual-code international Matt Cook?s hopes hinge on a hospital check-up today.
The England schoolboy centre or second-rower, who made eight senior appearances last season, created a fine impression until being forced off with a suspected fractured thumb.
?That was the only blight on the game,? said McNamara. ?It was a good, tough hit-out. We got out of it exactly what we wanted to get out of it.?
Hooker Ian Henderson, one of the trio of survivors from Bradford?s Old Trafford triumph over Leeds, scored the Bulls? only try, which was converted by Brett Ferres.
Architect of Warrington?s success was captain Lee Briers, who set up five of their six tries with pinpoint kicks, while new signing Michael Sullivan capped an impressive home debut with the other score.
Ben Westwood (two), 16-year-old Matt Blythe, Richie Barnett and Chris Bridge were the beneficiaries of Briers? magnificent boot, with ex-Bradford half-back Bridge landing three conversions.
Meanwhile a youthful Huddersfield were held to a 22-22 draw by National League One club Halifax in a friendly derby at the Shay.
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Tickets for the Carnegie World Club Challenge can be purchased through www.superleague.co.uk, who we thank for this news.