Lesley Vainikolo, Shontayne Hape and Andy Lynch scored two tries each and Paul Deacon kicked nine goals to help Bradford cruise to a 58-16 win over Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop yesterday. Steve McNamara's side are now third in the Super League table, a point behind Leeds.
The champions took the lead in the seventh minute, with a try by Marcus St Hilaire, before Mark McLinden levelled the scores. The Bulls dominated the rest of the half, however, running in tries through Stuart Fielden, Hape, Marcus Bai, Lynch and Vainikolo for a 36-6 interval lead.
Four more Bradford tries after the break outweighed two from Quins' Zeb Luisi and Lee Hopkins, comfortably erasing any lingering embarrassment felt by the Yorkshire side from their surprise 18-18 draw at home to the Londoners in February. Quins remain in the relegation mire - three teams are below them, but given that one is the undroppable Catalans Dragons no one will be sleeping easy at the Stoop for some time.
On Friday night, Hull's sixth successive win ended a run of 12 Super League losses to Leeds, the side they beat in a memorable Challenge Cup final last season.
The 44-28 win, in front of the third capacity Headingley crowd of the season, propelled the east Yorkshire side into a brief spell in third place, one behind the Rhinos, before Bradford's thumping win pushed them back down to fourth.
"There were some absolutely amazing passages of football," said the Hull coach, Peter Sharp. "It's hats off to the boys." Presumably, Sharp indulged in extra cap-doffage towards Gareth Raynor, who scored an 18-minute hat-trick, Kirk Yeaman, who scored his 20th try of the season, and Paul Cooke, who cocked a snook at the Great Britain coach, Brian Noble, with a performance on the level of his famous, match-winning display in Cardiff last year.
At Knowsley Road, St Helens reacted to the end of their own 12-match streak - in Super League this season - at Huddersfield last week with a resilient performance to beat Warrington 34-22. Two tries from Lee Gilmour took Saints to a 26-4 half-time lead. Paul Cullen's Wolves fought back, but they were unable to prevent a 23rd loss in 26 Super League matches with their rivals from across the M62.
"I don't think we've played well as a team for a few weeks," said St Helens' coach, Daniel Anderson. "We got stung last week but tonight was a team performance and I was really proud of the players.
"The hairs on the back on my neck went up at times because of our attacking and defensive play. I was very excited and proud."