Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
The Black and Whites have now won their last five games, two under the stewardship of Sharp and three under Richard Agar, who managed affairs after the departure of John Kear.
Despite winning the Challenge Cup under Kear, Hull struggled for league consistency during his tenure.
That is a problem currently not facing Sharp, who saw Great Britain scrum-half Richard Horne shine with a brace and Kirk Yeaman continued his stunning start to the season with two tries.
For Bradford coach Steve McNamara, problems are somewhat more immediate.
After being an original candidate to replace Kear, the ex-Hull player eventually took over at Odsal, but now has a coaching record of won one, lost two.
Despite the continued brilliance of Iestyn Harris, the return from injury of Paul Deacon surely cannot come soon enough.
The Bulls were quick out of the blocks though, taking a lead after just three minutes.
Paul Cooke, celebrating his 200th Hull appearance, spilt an innocuous Harris kick, allowing Michael Withers to scoot under the posts.
Harris goaled, but the score was soon levelled when Ewan Dowes sent Horne sprinting clear with a superb delayed pass.
Bradford responded in kind, with Karl Pryce earning them their second lead of the night.
After Andy Lynch had robbed Motu Tony of possession, Shontayne Hape was able to feed the winger, who crossed in the corner. Harris converted from the touchline to leave the score line at 12-6 to Bradford.
From then on Hull dominated the half and three tries sent them in ahead at the interval.
First Yeaman seized on excellent work by Tony and Shayne McMenemy to cross, before a quick double as the hooter approached hammered home their advantage.
Captain Richard Swain made a break down the centre of the field from where he fed the supporting Horne, before Cooke, with his earlier error now banished from memory, providing Lee Radford with a simple try to the right of the posts.
Hull led 22-10 thanks to Cooke?s conversions, a lead which could have been reduced had ex-Hull man Stanley Gene not spilt the ball against the post with the line at his mercy.
Yeaman nearly handed the Bulls an instant response at the start of the second half when his loose pass was seized on by Ian Henderson, with an open field ahead of him.
Tony was alert to the danger and was quick to first tackle the hooker and then strip him of possession.
Bradford thought they had scored with 15 minutes remaining, although Steve Ganson ruled a double movement against Hape, whilst Ganson was again involved moments later, disallowing Gareth Raynor?s effort after an obstruction in the build-up by Cooke.
With the Bulls lacking forward power, largely due to McNamara?s decision to employ Stuart Fielden in a wide position, Hape was proving their most dangerous outlet and only a Tony tackle prevented him from crossing after a tremendous jinking run.
But Bradford?s problems began to mount with a string of knock-ons close to their own line, with their comeback officially ended by Yeaman?s 19th try of the season in the last minute.
Hull: Tony, Blacklock, Dixon, Yeaman, Raynor, Cooke, R. Horne, Dowes, Swain, Thackray, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook. Replacements: King, Carvell, Brough, Chester.
Bradford: Withers, Bai, B. Harris, Hape, Pryce, I. Harris, Gene, Vagana, Newton, Lynch, Fielden, Johnson, Langley. Replacements: Smith, Henderson, Ferres, James.
Hull: (22) 28. Tries: R. Horne 2, Yeaman 2, Raynor. Goals: Cooke 4.
Bradford: (12) 12. Tries: Withers, Pryce. Goals: B. Harris, I. Harris.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)