Leeds beat Bradford jinx

Bradford 12 Leeds 26
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The Independent Online

Leeds could finally have conquered their Bradford hoodoo, beating them for the second time in Super League this year and opening up a seven-point lead over their local rivals with the halfway point in the season looming.

Leeds could finally have conquered their Bradford hoodoo, beating them for the second time in Super League this year and opening up a seven-point lead over their local rivals with the halfway point in the season looming.

Over 23,000 people saw the Rhinos, beaten five times by Bradford last season, get their noses in front in the first half from which point they never really looked like being dragged back.

After an early exchange of penalties - Leeds' for an offside decision which probably deprived Bradford of a try to Paul Deacon - it was the Bulls who seemed to be taking control of the midfield battle, with Lesley Vainikolo coming hunting for the ball to ominous effect.

Then Leeds had a purple patch. Andrew Dunemann landed a kick awkwardly between Michael Withers and Stuart Reardon and bounced back into the arms of Kevin Sinfield. Keith Senior was in support and the Bradford cover could not prevent him scoring from the corner.

Leeds' second try came from the rarity of a scrum won against the feed. The ball went wide to Willie Poching who stretched out his arm to the fullest extent to get the ball over the white line. Sinfield kicked the goal and also a penalty after Logan Swann had gone high in the tackle, but the real blow for Bradford came shortly before half-time with another Leeds try that they really could not legislate against.

A flowing move seemed to have broken down when the ball went to ground but Senior improvised by kicking it back to his new team-mate, Ali Lauiti'iti, who marked his second appearance for the club with his third try.

The excellent Vainikolo got one back for the Bulls early in the second half but any hopes of a fightback were obliterated when Dunemann slipped through some weak tackling for a try which Sinfield converted. But time was already too short for Bradford when Reardon put Paul Johnson away and Sinfield made absolutely certain of the point with a long-range penalty 10 minutes from time.

Bradford: Withers; Reardon, Johnson, Hape, Vainikolo; Pryce, Deacon; Vagana, Pratt, Fielden; Swann, Peacock, Radford.

Substitutes used: Paul, Langley, Parker, Anderson.

Leeds: Mathers; Calderwood, McKenna, Senior, Bai; McGuire, Dunemann; Bailey, Diskin, McDonald, Furner, Feather, Sinfield.

Substitutes used: Poching, McDermott, Burrow, Lauiti'iti.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).

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