Hull FC reached their first Super League Grand Final and an Old Trafford date with St Helens next Saturday evening after they gave the defending champions a lesson in taking chances at the KC Stadium last night.
Hull's outstanding defence, typified by the brave full-back Shaun Briscoe and the skipper Richard Swain, and the brilliance of scrum-half Richard Horne, who scored one try and had a hand in the other two, kept the home side on target for their first title since 1983. Horne had nearly pulled out after sustaining an Achilles injury in the warm-up but came through superbly.
"It was a great effort," Peter Sharp, the Hull coach, said. "Our defence in the first half laid the platform. Everyone contributed, as they needed to against a side of Bradford's quality."
The Bulls had no less than three first-half tries disallowed as Hull, despite taking the lead after only 46 seconds, were subjected to severe pressure. Horne had opened Hull's account with a glorious converted try after linking with Danny Washbrook.
Bradford's first try to be chalked off was a straightforward decision as Lesley Vainikolo clearly impeded Motu Tony in mid air from Paul Deacon's kick before sending Shontayne Hape over. The second was more contentious as Marcus Bai was recalled for Michael Withers' forward pass before Jamie Langley's effort was ruled out for a Brett Ferres knock-on.
Hull demonstrated admirable resilience and hit back with a 35-metre Paul Cooke penalty. They then posted a second try on the half-hour created by Horne's vision and skill. After Hull were awarded a debatable scrum feed on halfway - Karl Pryce having seemingly kept a loose ball in play - Horne surprised the Bradford defence with an inch-perfect diagonal kick to the corner that was superbly anticipated by Tony.
Though Cooke failed to add the conversion, he tagged on a drop goal four minutes from half-time as Hull went in with a hard-earned 13-0 lead.
Bradford finally broke through when Ferres twisted over following a Deacon kick, but Hull clinched their final place when Kirk Yeaman completed a sweeping move for a converted try after 56 minutes, though a Langley try set up a tense last 10 minutes.
"We have one game to go," Sharp added. "Though we are underdogs, I'd like to think we've got a chance."
Hull: Briscoe; Tony, Domic, Yeaman, Raynor; Cooke, R Horne; Dowes, Swain, Carvell, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook. Substitutes used: King, Wheeldon, Chester, G Horne.
Bradford: Withers; Bai, B Harris, Hape, Vainikolo; I Harris, Deacon; Vagana, Newton, Meyers, McKenna, Langley, Ferres. Substitutes used: Cook, Burgess, Henderson, Pryce.
Referee: A Klein (Silsden).Reuse content