Bradford's band of 'volunteers' shock Broncos
Bradford 44 London Broncos 12
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.
Monday 09 July 2012
If you wanted to put a heavy government spin on this outstanding victory, you could almost call it a triumph for the voluntary sector, taking up the slack in a beleaguered economy.
Bradford, with their head coach, Mick Potter, and the rest of the staff made redundant and working for nothing, and the players merely hoping there might be something with which to pay them, somehow came up with another fiercely committed performance to take them up to sixth in the Super League table.
Possible liquidation still looms tomorrow, but the way the crowd stayed to cheer both the players and the staff down the tunnel showed that there is still a beating heart at this club. "It's phenomenal what they've done," a proud Potter said of his team. "They've shown themselves to be men of strength."
Bradford, who even missed two training sessions midweek as confusion reigned at Odsal over the future of the club, were rarely troubled by a London Broncos team, who were shorn of Craig Gower, their captain.
In truth, Bradford had little to beat, with some weak Broncos defence giving them 18 points in the first 18 minutes. If only the club's creditors were as easy to shake off.
The shocking thing from a London point of view was how much worse the Broncos were than the Bulls, with all their problems. Although Brett Kearney finished with four tries, much of the early damage was done by Luke Gale, who had such an influential season in London last year.
Not only did he contribute to Bradford's dominant kicking game and land the first three conversions, he also claimed the third try himself, after scores from Manase Manuokafoa and Kearney
His try was the result of a fumble by Kieran Dixon, who repeated the trick a few minutes later to present another to Elliot Whitehead. In between, however, he did something to redeem himself by scoring London's only points of the half. The Bulls, finished the first 40 minutes strongly though when Michael Platt scored from Ben Jeffries' typically pin-point kick.
Kearney added three more tries in the second half, with Dixon completing a mixed afternoon by running in his second, before Will Lovell got one at the end for the Broncos.
"You've got to give the Bulls credit for performing like that with all that's been going on," admitted Rob Powell, the Broncos coach. Unfortunately, his own team deserved absolutely no credit at all.
The Rugby Football League remains confident that the Bulls will survive to complete their season's fixtures. On the showing of the last couple of weeks, they unquestionably deserves.
Bradford: Kearney; Ainscough, Platt, Lulia, Pryce; Jeffries, Gale; Manuokafoa, L'Estrange, Hargreaves, Bateman, Whitehead. Substitutes used: Burgess, O'Brien, Walker, Olbison.
London Broncos: Sarginson; Robertson, Lovell, O'Callaghan, Dixon; Witt, Dorn; Bryant, Rinaldi, Wheeldon, Bailey, Howell, Clubb. Substitutes used:: Randall, Melling, Krasniqi, Bolger.
Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield)..
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