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Rugby League

Bradford cut down Giants to keep play-off hopes alive and kicking

Huddersfield 12 Bradford 34

Another week, another deadline, but the Bulls' bid to finish in the play-offs in what could still be their last Super League season goes on.

The club's future prospects could be a little clearer tomorrow, which the Rugby League has fixed as the time limit for offers to buy the business – of which there are already four.

In the meantime, however, the Bulls continued to do what they have done ever since the financial chickens came home to roost, by putting forward a convincing case on the field for their survival.

They were far too good yesterday for a Huddersfield side that played as though its season had ended months ago. The Bradford supporters filled one end of the stadium and they had something tangible to celebrate as their team moved into the top eight for the first time since their six-point deduction for entering administration.

They did not even have to play to at the top of their game to achieve it, either . "I'm delighted with the result and the scoreline," said their coach, Mick Potter, "but there's a lot better to come from our players."

Huddersfield are a subtly different case. The League leaders throughout March and April, they went into a slump so long and deep that it has dragged them down to seventh place.

They have shown some hesitant signs of recovery since the arrival in the top job of next year's appointed coach, Paul Anderson, and they began this match reasonably well before apparently losing their way.

They took the lead through Joe Wardle, but then it all started to go wrong for them. The Giants, conceding soft penalties and a string of unforced errors, gave Bradford a series of invitations into the match. The wonder of it was that it took them until half-way through the first half to accept one.

It came when Karl Pryce, playing at centre and not always the most reliable handler of the ball, picked up a difficult low pass from Ben Jeffries and moved it straight on for Shaun Ainscough to score in the corner.

Amid an eccentric performance from the referee, Thierry Alibert, there were question marks against the next two tries. Luke Robinson was harshly penalised for interfering to allow Matt Diskin to wrestle his way over, while there looked to be a forward pass in the build-up to Luke Gale's touchdown.

That was mere detail. After the Giants had been denied a Jermaine McGillvary try for a forward pass, play went straight up to the other end via Gale's 40/20 kick and Brett Kearney scored directly from the scrum.

Pryce went over from a clever reverse pass by Jeffries and, although the Giants retaliated with a try through Leroy Cudjoe, it was Pryce who finished it off after some acrobatic handling.

There was no doubt who looked the demoralised side. "It was very, very poor," said Anderson of his side's display. "What really peeved me was the attitude: it was disgraceful, some of the stuff out there."

For brave, resourceful Bradford, their fate, in playing terms at least, is in their own hands. Wins over Hull and the Catalans would guarantee them a place in the play-offs. Stranger things have happened.

Huddersfield: Eden; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, George; Grix, Brough; Crabtree, Lee, Mason, Ferres, Chan, Lawrence. Substitutes used: Robinson, Fa'alogo, Faiumu, Patrick.

Bradford: Kearney; Ainscough, Pryce, Lulia, Crookes; Jeffries, Gale; Hargreaves, L'Estrange, Kopczak, Bateman, Whitehead, Langley. Substitutes used: Manuokafoa, Burgess, Diskin, Walker.

Referee: T Alibert (France).