After weeks of rumour and speculation, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have finally confirmed the sign...
22 hours ago
Blockbusting winger Lesley Vainikolo scored a Super League record six tries as Bradford consolidated third place and brought Challenge Cup victors Hull crashing back to earth with a 49-6 win.
The New Zealand juggernaut was simply unstoppable as he charged over for a first-half hat-trick and doubled his tally after the break to go past a century for the club.
Hull had little time to bask in the glory of their Millennium Stadium success as Vainikolo touched down twice in the first six minutes to give form team Bradford a dream start on their way to making it six wins in a row.
Even prop Joe Vagana got on the scoresheet, with his first try of the season, as the Bulls revelled in the ball distribution of classy half-backs Iestyn Harris and Paul Deacon to complete a third win of the season over the Cup winners.
There were 10 tries in all and the 13,326 Odsal crowd might have witnessed the fastest-ever score had Stuart Fielden not been held short after collecting a fortuitous bounce off an upright straight from the kick-off.
Skipper Jamie Peacock was also stopped but Harris and Deacon were quick to spot an opening on the left and Shontayne Hape sent his winger over with just 28 seconds on the clock.
The visitors had barely recovered from that shock when Vainikolo raced onto a precision kick by lively hooker Ian Henderson.
Deacon kicked one of the conversions to make it 10-0 and it could have been more as loose forward Lee Radford, due to join Hull at the end of the season, was brought down inches short and it needed a flying tackle by Shayne McMenemy to deny Ben Harris in full flight for the line.
Hull had centre Kirk Yeaman put on report for an alleged spear tackle on Fielden but they gradually stemmed the Bulls onslaught and struck back after 26 minutes with a well-worked try of their own.
Brough, picking up from where he left off in Cardiff, landed the touchline conversion to cut the deficit to just four points but the Bulls finished the half in the ascendancy.
Vainikolo juggled with Hape's inside pass before completing his hat-trick and Deacon kicked his second conversion before sending a towering 45-metre drop goal between the posts just before the half-time hooter.
Hull made a better start to the second half and strong-running forward Jamie Thackray, among a host of players to make a big impression from the bench, will have enhanced his chances of an international cap with a series of powerful runs in front of Bradford and Great Britain coach Brian Noble.
But the visitors could not match the finishing of their hosts, who put the game beyond doubt with two tries in four minutes.
Try machine Vainikolo turned provider on 49 minutes when he surged down the wing and Hape took his pass to touch down despite a valiant tackle by Raynor.
Fielden was equally unstoppable when he charged onto a short pass by the prominent Henderson, who also got Peacock romping over for a try.
Vagana powered his way past flimsy tackling for a rare score but the night belonged to Vainikolo, who gratefully accepted deft passes from Hape to touch down twice in the space of eight minutes.
And just seconds remained when the popular winger got the ball in space and went 80 metres for a glorious score that brought him the record.
Bradford: Withers, L. Pryce, B. Harris, Hape, Vainikolo, I. Harris, Deacon, Peacock, Henderson, Fielden, Johnson, Meyers, Radford. Replacements: Vagana, Paul, Lynch, Langley.
Hull: Blacklock, Tony, Whiting, Yeaman, Raynor, Cooke, Brough, Dowes, Swain, Thackray, McMenemy, Kearney, Chester. Replacements: King, Saxton, Higgins, G. Horne.
Bradford: (17) 49. Tries: Vainikolo 6, Hape, Fielden, Vagana, Peacock. Goals: Deacon 4. Drop Goals: Deacon.
Hull: (6) 6. Tries: Raynor. Goals: Brough.
Referee: Ashley Klein (London) Att: 13,326
- - - - -
Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for this news.