Old man Menzies guides Dragons past eager Bulls
Bradford Bulls 28 Catalan Dragons 34
Sunday 03 July 2011
A sublime display by Steve Menzies,the grand old man of Super League, took the Catalans to victory in a game in which they were a man short for almost a half. The dismissal of David Ferriol after 44 minutesshould have tilted a fascinating match Bradford's way, but with the 37-year-old Australian at the helm the French side were able tosteady the ship and maintain their impressive recent record.
Fittingly, the first try of the afternoon was scored by a Frenchman – Bradford's former Dragons captain, Olivier Elima. The Test forward took Marc Herbert's neat, short pass and burst through after eight minutes.
The Catalans' response was led by another man demonstrating the old adage that your former players know how to hurt you. The Bulls let Menzies go, but the oldest player in Super League showed that he still has plenty to offer. A world-class second-rower for most of the past two decades, he was switched to stand-off yesterday and he took to it as though it was the most natural thing in the world.
After 13 minutes he set up a try for Clint Greenshields with an arcing run that drew the defence and then a perfect pass. Ten minutes later, after Andy Lynch had failed to pick up a low pass from Gareth Raynor, Menzies again found Greenshields coming into the line and the full-back put Damien Blanch over in the corner.
Just as impressive as those two pieces of work was the way Menzies got across to make a superb cover- tackle on Ben Jeffries, when the Bradford stand-off was threatening to go all the way to the line after taking an intercept. Menzies is determined to play past his 38th birthday next year, and on this form he could become Super League's first 40-year-old.
For all that, his old club had their noses ahead of his present one at half-time, thanks to two late penalties from Patrick Ah Van.
That lead did not last long, Sébastien Raguin finding his way through a forest of legs after Scott Dureau had been stopped short. What looked like being the pivotal moment of the match came soon after that, when Ferriol was sent off for a high tackle on James Donaldson and Ah Van kicked the equalising penalty. Worse was to follow for the Dragons. as Greenshields lost the ball trying to bring it away from his line, subjecting his team to a spell of ferocious pressure that ended with Tom Burgess touching down.
The Catalans were anything but cowed, though, and they drew level with a try from from another former Bull, Ian Henderson. Brett Kearney had a try disallowed for Bradford, for double movement, before an inspired pass from Menzies to Lopeni Paea saw Dureau score. When Blanch broke away for his second, the 12 men were on their way to a remarkable win.
Greenshields clinched it with a long-range effort, making Raynor's last-minute try irrelevant.
Bradford Bulls: Kearney; Crookes, Ah Van, Platt, Raynor; Jeffries, Herbert; Lynch, Diskin, Hargreaves, Elima, Whitehead, Kopczak. Substitutes used: Scruton, Donaldson, Addy, Burgess.
Catalan Dragons: Greenshields; Blanch, Baile, Millard, Vaccari; Menzies, Dureau; Ferriol, Henderson, Fakir, Raguin, Paea, Mounis. Substitutes used: Casty, Martins, Baitieri, Pelissier.
Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Arturo Vidal to Real Madrid: Transfer news live - Sergio Ramos to Manchester United, Lukas Podolski to leave Arsenal
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture