Bradford Bulls 58 Huddersfield Giants 6 match report: Jarrod Sammut for nothing as Huddersfield rest stars
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
The Odsal Stadium
Sunday 08 September 2013
Bradford ended a forgettable season with some minor consolation as the Giants kept their powder dry for next weekend by fielding a young, experimental line-up that was not quite up to the job.
A week after clinching a trophy for leading the league for the first time in 81 years and five days before they start their play-off campaign against Wigan, Huddersfield could be excused for having at least part of their collective minds elsewhere yesterday.
Their coach, Paul Anderson, has always said that he is a big believer, however, in two things – consistency and momentum – and that made last night's trip to Odsal more important in its own right than it might have appeared.
Anderson still felt able to leave out his "Big Three" of Danny Brough, Shaun Lunt and Eorl Crabtree – all strong candidates for the Super League Dream Team which will be announced this week – to give several others the weekend off, to field four debutants and to hope that he had got the balance right. It cannot be said he succeeded.
One of the Giants' great virtues this year has been continuity of selection – but needs must when you are trying to get to Old Trafford's Grand Final for the first time.
It has been a very different type of season for Bradford, who have limped along on half their usual ration of television money as a punishment for their financial collapse under their previous administration.
It would have been a small miracle if they had made the play-offs this season under those circumstances and miracles are not on offer at Odsal at the moment, except possibly when Jarrod Sammut was scoring his four tries.
True, they are better off than at least two other clubs and they have made some signings for next season, but there is a steady drip from a leaky pipe gradually draining the tanks of talent at Bradford.
Their long-serving former captain, Jamie Langley, this weekend became the latest player to announce that he wants to leave the club, in his case after 13 years with the Bulls and sharing in so many of their successes in the early days of Super League; just as he has now played a role in five successive failures to make the semi-finals.
Langley was left out yesterday after failing a fitness test, but the first points of the evening were strictly a solo effort from Sammut, picking off Kyle Wood's kick and going the length of the field.
It was also Sammut's incisive running that drew the penalty which, when the ball was moved wide, saw Keith Lulia romp over on his farewell appearance for the club. Lulia was too strong again after 25 minutes as the match began to look a little like boys versus men.
Danny Addy was next amid more shrugged-off tackles followed by Jamie Foster – who also finished with a tally of eight goals – squeezing in at the corner.
In the second half, Sammut quickly claimed his second before Jake Connor averted the danger of the young Giants being "nilled".
Sammut completed his fourth hat-trick for the Bulls, however, to underline their superiority followed by his fourth from Foster's clever kick and a finale from Elliot Kear.
Bradford Naughton; Kear, S. Wood, Lulia, Foster; Sammut, Gale; Manuokafoa, Diskin, Evans, Addy, Olbison, Donaldson. Substitutes used O'Brien, Platt, Mellor, Conroy.
Huddersfield Connor; Blackmore, Lawrence, George, Dawson; Miller, K.Wood; Mullally, Faiumu, Johnson, Ta'ai, Cording, Fairbank. Substitutes used Leeming, Blagborough, Aspinall, Mason.
Referee B Thaler.
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