Oldham 24 Bradford Bulls 30
All the evidence at Oldham yesterday was that the blossoming link between two Pauls - Robbie Paul and Paul Newlove - could be the key to Bradford's renewal this season.
The Bulls new coach, Brian Smith, saw the 19-year-old New Zealander combine fluently with the Great Britain centre to put them firmly in control 10 minutes into the second half of this match against a side still awaiting its first win.
"He's a real talent" said the former Hull and St George coach, after watching his new club for the first time.
Paul's sinuous running had created a try for Newlove and glorious handling between the two produced one for John Scales.
With early tries from Gary Christie and Roy Powell cancelling out one from Adrian Belle, Bradford should hardly have looked back.
Thanks to John Clarke's try, however, Oldham trailed by only six points at half-time. But then Paul, two years younger than Wigan's Henry but well on the way to becoming as exciting a player now that he has someone to believe in him, raced 60 yards to touch down and his pass then sent St John Ellis over.
By this time, though, Newlove had gone off with a thigh injury that Bradford hope will not threaten his participation against Wigan next Sunday.
The reshuffle took Paul out into the centre and the Bulls were never as fluent again.
That loss of attacking impetus plus a number of errors allowed Oldham back into the contest in the last quarter.
Howard, Hill took a pass from the substitute, Paul Topping, to score and Bradford would have been in worse trouble if Ian Sherratt had not dropped the ball with the line open.
Sherratt and Bradford's Alan Boothroyd both went to the sin bin after a skirmish and Oldham scored again with Belle's second also from a pass by Topping.
"They had me a little nervous at the end but there were a lot of positive things" Smith said. "The things that were wrong are the ones that are easiest to fix in this game if the spirit is there."
Oldham: Gibson (Topping 51); Belle, Atcheson, Abram, Neal; Maloney, Crompton; Sherratt, Clarke, Richards (Temu, 21; Green, 55), Lord (Gildart, 49), Faimalo, Hill.
Bradford Bulls: Ellis; Christie, Hall, Newlove, (Hodgkinson, 55), Scales; Paul, Fox; Howell, (Boothroyd, 34) Donohue, Ireland (Hamer, 52), Fairbank, McDermott (Powell, 76), Summers.
Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).
n Despite the score, 50-12, Wigan were lethargic in their victory over London Broncos. They were held to a 16-6 lead at half-time but the champions ran riot in the second half with six more tries.Reuse content