Bradford's pace and power too much for Hull

Bradford Bulls 40 Hull FC 0
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The Independent Online

Bradford stretched their lead at the top of Super League to four points at Valley Parade last night with the Paul brothers claiming two tries apiece in a comprehensive hammering of a fellow top-three contender.

After a shaky start, the Bulls' sheer strength and the incisive sniping of Henry and Robbie Paul proved far too much for their outclassed visitors.

The Bulls are traditionally at their most dangerous bouncing back from a defeat like the one at Wigan last week, but they still looked edgy and prone to error in the early exchanges.

It was Hull, with Jason Smith moving the ball around the field in his inimitable style, who appeared the more settled and purposeful, but after 15 minutes Bradford took the lead.

Steve Craven gave them the impetus by conceding a penalty for holding-on in the tackle and, when the Bulls used that as a base from which to launch their attack, Joe Vagana's pass released Paul Deacon, preferred in the starting line-up to Robbie Paul, to score under the posts.

Bradford's rehabilitation continued three minutes later, Henry Paul slipping a lovely pass to Graham Mackay, whose surging run took him right over the top of the tackle from the Hull full-back, Matt Crowther, for their second try.

Hull have shown in recent weeks that they can come back from an early deficit, but whenever they got within sight of the Bradford line they found the defence too rigorous for them. The closest they came was when Jason Smith's clever chip kick bounced perfectly for his namesake, Tony, but even then the tacklers soon converged on him.

At the other end, Stuart Fielden had a try disallowed for a marginal forward pass from Henry Paul and Deacon also missed with a drop-goal attempt as Bradford had to be satisfied with a 12-point half-time lead.

That left Hull still just about in contention, but their task became a formidable one in the first minute of the second half. Jason Smith's pass went straight into touch past a bemused Paul Parker and from the scrum Henry Paul worked a slick run-around move with Paul Anderson to go over, and add his third conversion.

Robbie Paul, who like his brother will miss next week's match against Castleford on Test duty with New Zealand, then scored with his first touch after coming off the bench, selling Hull's wide defence an embarrassing dummy to dart over.

Jason Smith and Fielden went to the sin-bin for fighting, but the complexion of the game remained otherwise unchanged with Hull bouncing off Bradford's solid defence and then proving vulnerable to the league leaders' greater power and penetration.

From a scrum under the posts, Robbie Paul's pass sent Henry in. Robbie then capitalised on a fumble from Richard Horne that was all too typical of Hull's efforts and Michael Withers scythed through a worn out defence as time ran out.

Bradford Bulls: Withers; Vaikona, Naylor, Mackay, McAvoy; H Paul, Deacon; Vagana, Lowes, McDermott, Gilmour, Peacock, Forshaw, Substitutes used: R Paul, Rigon, Anderson, Fielden.

Hull FC: Crowther; C Smith, Campbell, Bird, Parker; Horne, T Smith; Craven, Grimaldi, Felsch, Maher, Logan, J Smith, Substitutes used: Cooke, Broadbent, Maiden, Carvell.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).