Leeds 44 Bradford 2: Webb's hat-trick punishes ragged Bradford

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The Independent Online

By Dave Hadfield

Leeds, the Super League leaders, made light of what should have been their toughest task so far as they outclassed their local rivals to an embarrassing degree.

The New Zealand full-back Brent Webb led the way with a hat-trick of tries, but this was primarily a demonstration of destruction running forward play which Bradford's defence could simple not withstand.

Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and, when he was not causing havoc in the centres, Gareth Ellis punched holes in the Bulls' line at will.

Ellis's early break only produced a penalty for obstruction and a 40-metre goal for Paul Deacon to get Bradford started. There was further trouble for Leeds when Kylie Leuluai was carried off, knocked out making a tackle on Chris Feather. It was a Bradford error that then gave Leeds the chance from which they scored the game's first try, David Solomona passing forward and the Rhinos capitalising when Matt Diskin kicked through neatly for Jones-Buchanan.

Kevin Sinfield surprisingly hit the post with a relatively simple conversion, but more than made up for it by supplying the try-scoring pass to Webb.

Leeds went further ahead thanks to Jones-Buchanan, who took the ball from a 20-metre restart and raced away before unselfishly giving the try to Lee Smith. It was already shaping up as a commanding display from the champions. Bradford, by contrast, were getting more and more ragged and were grateful to their novice full-back, David Halley, for getting them out of trouble on a number of occasions.

Four minutes before the interval Leeds rubbed in their superiority. Iestyn Harris's pass to Deacon went to ground, Ellis picked up and the ball finished in the arms of Rob Burrow for the fourth Rhinos try. There was still time for a fifth before the break. Ellis charging away and allowing Webb his second at leisure.

Bradford could do nothing right, as shown by Deacon's kick being picked off by Luke Burgess to send Scott Donald 80 metres for yet another Leeds try. Burrow poached his second try with a brilliant side-stepping run. Webb gained his third and Burrow's second goal completed the rout.

"There were a lot of tired tackles out there," said the Bradford coach, Steve McNamara. "We were beaten in every department. We have to wear it on the chin, but it hurts like hell."

Leeds: Webb, Smith, Ellis, Senior, Donald, Tansey, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Sinfield. Substitutes used: Worrall, L Burgess, Scruton, Hall.

Bradford: Halley, Tadulala, Nero, Hape, Heavens, Jeffries, Deacon, Lynch, Newton, Feather, Solomoma, Finnigan, S Burgess. Substitutes used: Harris, Godwin, Cook, James.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

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