Ahead of kickoff tonight, check out Rick Edgerton's preview of the second #Origin clash.
2 days ago - 1 Likes
Bradford staged a tremendous late fightback to give Great Britain international Adrian Morley a winning start to his brief Bulls career with a 52-34 victory over Huddersfield.
Huddersfield, who needed the win to keep alive their slender engage Super League play-off hopes, were in sight of their first win at Odsal for 36 years when they led 34-18 after an hour.
But the Bulls roared back with six tries in the last quarter, two of them from leading scorer Lesley Vainikolo on his 100th appearance, to clinch a seventh straight win and strenthen their hold on third place in the engage Super League.
Morley, the former Leeds forward who has joined Bradford on loan from Sydney Roosters, was reintroduced into Super League after a five-year break 17 minutes into the match with his new side trailing 6-0 to a lively Giants team.
He was able to make little impact, however, and it was left to his Great Britain team-mates Jamie Peacock and Stuart Fielden to lay the platform for the crucial victory.
Huddersfield also kept a tight rein on Vainikolo following his record six-try feat against Hull a week ago and they had visions of a first away win over Bradford since 1969 when they raced into a 12-0 lead courtesy of tries in the first quarter from full-back Marcus St Hilaire and centre James Evans, both goaled by Chris Thorman.
Bradford shook off their early lethargy, following the introduction of big Joe Vagana and experienced half-back Robbie Paul from the bench, to take the lead with 18 unanswered points.
Hooker Ian Henderson took Vagana?s offload to burrow his way over and Paul made the running for tries from second rower Paul Johnson and scrum-half Paul Deacon, who kicked all three conversions.
But, with the impressive Eorl Crabtree causing havoc with his storming running and offloading and Thorman and Stanley Gene intelligently calling the shots, the Giants struck back with two further tries in the last five minutes of the first half to turn around 24-18 in front.
The evergreen Gene took Crabtree?s pass to score and then burst through to set up a score for substitute Paul March, with Thorman adding both goals.
Bradford piled on the pressure in the second half and Iestyn Harris and Shontayne Hape both tried to free up the lurking Vainikolo without success.
And it looked all over for the Bulls when Crabtree supported a half-break by second rower Paul Smith to claim a fifth try on 55 minutes - and three minutes later Gene and Nero combined superbly to get winger Lee Greenwood over for a sixth.
But Johnson sparked the comeback when he cut through for his second try before substitute
Andy Lynch at last created an opening for Vainikolo.
When the lively Henderson got Fielden charging over on 69 minutes, the Bulls were back in front and Huddersfield collapsed alarmingly.
Vainikolo went over for his 25th try of the season courtesy of Deacon?s long pass and, as the Giants faded, Brad Meyers and Lee Radford added further tries, with Deacon taking his goal tally to eight from nine attempts.
Bradford (18) 52. Tries: Henderson, Johnson 2, Deacon, Vainikolo 2, Fielden, Meyers, Radford. Goals: Deacon 8.
Huddersfield (24) 34. Tries: St Hilaire, Evans, Gene, March, Crabtree, Greenwood. Goals: Thorman 5.
Bradford: Withers, L. Pryce, B. Harris, Hape, Vainikolo, I. Harris, Deacon, Peacock, Henderson, Fielden, Johnson, Meyers, Radford. Replacements: Vagana, Paul, Lynch, Morley.
Huddersfield: St Hilaire, O?Hare, Evans, De Vere, Greenwood, Thorman, Gene, Jackson, Drew, Gannon, Nero, S. Jones, Crabtree.
Replacements: March, Smith, Grayshon, McDonald.
Referee: Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington)