A last-minute try from Adam Sidlow gave the Bulls a well-deserved share of the spoils against their neighbours and old rivals tonight.
The champions looked to have taken the derby spoils. Jamie Peacock, a hero at both clubs, seemed to have won it for Leeds with his first try against Bradford, which put them into an 18-12 lead but he gave away two late penalties and was sent to the sin bin for dissent three minutes from the end and his present side with just 12 men could not quite sustain their tremendous defence.
In a pulsating finish, the Leeds captain, Kevin Sinfield, had what would have been a match-winning drop goal ruled out because of a push by Peacock on the Bulls second-rower John Bateman while he was wide with another attempt.
Leeds won the title last year, while Bradford almost went out of business, so this is no longer a derby between natural equals. Throw in home advantage and a weather-enforced rest last weekend and everything pointed to the Rhinos.
It looked even more of a lop-sided relationship when Leeds took the lead after 24 seconds, when Jamie Jones-Buchanan reclaimed Kevin Sinfield's kick-off and Kallum Watkins chimed into the line to score. What would have been a second was disallowed for an offside less than three minutes later and the Bulls were rocking.
There has been something special about the spirit at Bradford over the last 12 months, however, and something equally special about the way they equalised, keeping the ball alive through eight pairs of hands before Elliot Whitehead popped it up for Adrian Purtell to touch down in only his third match back after last season's heart attack.
Even more unlikely, Tom Olbison put the Bulls ahead with a try from dummy-half, a procedure Danny Addy almost matched a couple of minutes later.
Mitch Achurch made an impact for Leeds as soon as he came on as a substitute by levelling the scores again with his first try for the club.
Both sides had their chances after the break. Jones-Buchanan got over the line on 51 minutes for Leeds without being able to ground the ball but there was no stopping Peacock moments later as he took three defenders over the line with him to register his second try of the season.
Bradford piled on the pressure after that, but a Sinfield drop goal would have clinched it if Peacock had not been penalised off the ball. Sinfield missed with another shot before Sidlow swooped.
Leeds Watkins; Vickery, Ablett, Moon, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Bailey. Substitutes used Ward, Kirke, Achurch, Moore.
Bradford Kearney; Kear, Purtell, Lulia, Foster; Addy, Sammut; Scruton, Diskin, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Whitehead, Walker. Substitutes used Langley, L'Estrange, Bateman, Walker.
Referee P Bentham (Warrington).Reuse content