Leeds break down Bulls' stubborn resistance

Leeds 36 - Bradford 26
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The Independent Online

Although a couple of late tries made it look closer than it was, Bradford were always second best to a Leeds side with just too much firepower for them.

There were 11 Super League points separating these neighbours and rivals at kick-off and the difference in their confidence was all too apparent in the first meaningful action.

Robbie Paul knocked on Michael Withers's awkward pass and, from that early gift of possession, Kevin Sinfield created the gap for Keith Senior to score.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan almost had a second for the dominant Rhinos, but this time Sinfield's pass was ruled forward. Bradford made the most of that let-off with Iestyn Harris coming off the bench to run at the defence and win a penalty and Jamie Peacock barging over.

Jones-Buchanan got his try with a lovely change of pace to beat Stuart Fielden and Andy Lynch after he took Rob Burrow's pass.

The Bulls were struggling for their share of possession, but they again showed the tenacity to get back into the game when Paul Johnson followed Iestyn Harris's kick and rolled over the try-line to touch down.

Once more their loose handling let them down, however, Paul this time fumbling a desperately difficult pass from Paul Deacon and Leeds capitalising when Mark Calderwood took a return pass from Sinfield for Danny McGuire to go between the sticks.

Bradford applied plenty of pressure early in the second half, but handling mistakes stopped them turning it into points. They were punished when Danny Ward made a startling break for a solidly-built prop and found McGuire on his hip to claim his second try.

Bradford still refused to be beaten down, with Iestyn Harris providing a perfect pass for his namesake, Ben, to bring them back within striking distance yet again.

There was no answer to Sinfield, however. As soon as he returned from a break on the sideline he set up Senior for his second and Leeds were in control. Burrow then put one on a plate for Ali Lauitiiti, with Sinfield adding his sixth goal from six attempts. Late tries from Brad Myers, and Johnson could not rescue Bradford.

Leeds: Mathers, Calderwood, Walker, Senior, Bai, Sinfield, Burrow, Bailey, Dunemann, Ward, Jones-Buchanan, McKenna, Ellis. Substitutes used: Lauitiiti, Poching, McDermott, McGuire.

Bradford: Withers, Reardon, B Harris, Johnson, Pratt, Paul, Deacon, Vagana, Henderson, Fielden, Langley, Peacock, Radford. Substitutes used: Parker, Meyers, Lynch, I Harris.

Referee: A Klein (London).