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Bradford romp to win over Huddersfield
Great Britain scrum-half Paul Deacon smashed Bradford?s goalkicking record as the Bulls cantered to a 52-18 victory over Huddersfield.
Deacon, leading the side for the first time in the absence of Iestyn Harris, converted eight of the Bulls? nine tries to take his career total to 780, eclipsing the record set by Keith Mumby 16 years ago.
Deacon was also one of eight different tryscorers as he finished the game with a personal haul of 20 points, outscoring outclassed Huddersfield who went down to a third successive defeat.
The comfortable victory, which lifts the champions back to third place in the engage Super League, would be a fitting way for Brian Noble to bow out after virtually 28 years? unbroken service.
Reports suggest the Bradford boss will be unveiled as Wigan?s 10th coach in as many years later this week.
But Bulls fans displayed banners calling for the club to retain the services of their popular coach, who was given a standing ovation before kick-off, and his players responded in style.
The uncertainty surrounding Noble?s future cast a shadow over the final fixture of a packed Easter programme.
Harris missed his first game since joining Bradford almost two years ago after picking up a quad injury in his side?s win at Leeds and was replaced at stand-off former Huddersfield utility man Stanley Gene.
Noble gave a debut to 19-year-old forward Craig Kopczak as well as former Wigan hooker Terry Newton, who started his first match for seven months after completing a 12-week suspension.
For a derby that had more sideshows than a Billy Smart circus, former Bulls skipper Robbie Paul made an emotional return to Odsal and he received a rousing ovation from both sets of fans.
Paul was prominent in the early stages as the Giants made a lively start but it was Newton who opened the scoring, racing away from dummy-half and barging through the tackle of full-back Paul Reilly on 10 minutes.
And Newton was involved in the Bulls? next two tries, working the ball out to the right wing, where Marcus Bai offloaded superbly from a two-man tackle for Paul Johnson to touch down on his first game back from injury.
Huddersfield were down to 12 men at the time, with Reilly down injured, but even restored to their full complement, they could not prevent Deacon forcing his way over for a third try on 20 minutes.
Deacon?s second goal made it 16-0 but the visitors hit back on 25 minutes when skipper Chris Thorman supported a fine break by substitute Brad Drew and went 40 metres for a try he converted himself.
The Giants also forced a couple of drop-outs and the pressure paid off when Thorman?s grubber kick rebounded off defender Ian Henderson into the grateful arms of Chris Nero, who stretched out for the try.
Thorman?s second goal cut the gap to just four points but the Bulls responded in style with a sweeping move which ended in Bai taking full-back Michael Withers? pass to score a fourth try and Deacon kicked his third goal as they led 22-12 at the break.
It took the champions just three minutes to increase their lead after enjoying all the possession at the start of the second half.
Great Britain prop Stuart Fielden, who had been a handful in the first half, proved unstoppable from five metres out as he plundered over for the Bulls? fifth try.
That was the signal for Bradford to throw caution to the wind and Kiwi international Shontayne Hape finished a breathtaking move initiated by co-centre Karl Pryce for another score.
The Giants hit back when the lively Drew started and finished a move for their third try but Fielden underlined his brilliance by laying on further tries in quick succession for Pryce and Lesley Vainikolo.
There was just enough time for Vainikolo to claim a second and that enabled Deacon to break Mumby?s long-standing record.
Bradford: Withers, Bai, Pryce, Hape, Vainikolo, Gene, Deacon, Fielden, Newton, Lynch, Ferres, Johnson, Langley. Replacements: Vagana, Kopczak, St Hilaire, Henderson.
Huddersfield: Reilly, Aspinwall, Evans, De Vere, Gardner, Thorman, Paul, Crabtree, March, Grayshon, Nero, Jones, Wild. Replacements: Snitch, Drew, Jackson, Raleigh.
Bradford (22) 52. Tries: Newton, Johnson, Deacon, Bai, Fielden, Hape, Pryce, Vainikolo 2. Goals: Deacon 8.
Huddersfield (12) 18. Tries: Thorman, Nero, Drew. Goals: Thorman 3.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)