Bradford's players' resilience in the face of the club's problems and unknown future is the miracle of the Super League season. But they found out last night that their rivals' sympathy only extends so far.
The Bulls showed their usual resolve, but once Leeds had shaken off the Cup hangover that made them, at least in the first half, a shadow of the team that beat Wigan to reach the final, determination was not quite enough.
Leeds' magnanimous gesture in returning the Bulls fans' share of the gate money to the club's fighting fund has been rightly praised, but they always seemed highly unlikely to be as generous on the pitch.
They did let their visitors get off to a flying start, however, Luke Gale triggering a long-range attack that ended with Elliot Whitehead touching down between the posts.
Bradford could have been further ahead on the balance of play before Leeds responded through Kallum Watkins' try and Kevin Sinfield adding the equalising conversion.
Jarrod Sammut had one disallowed for the Bulls for a forward pass, and it all went wrong for them during the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Sammut and Karl Pryce collided when they both went for the same kick, leaving Shaun Lunt to touch down for his 100th career try.
Sinfied was sin-binned for tackling an opponent without the ball and Bradford almost took immediate advantage of his absence when Pryce was denied in the corner.
The game was finally up for the Bulls, however, when Kylie Leuluai slipped the pass from which Hardaker scored, although Olivier Elima got one back, quickly followed by Danny McGuire going in for the Rhinos.
Bradford struck the right, defiant note through Pryce before Sinfield crossed for the final try, but their biggest battles lie off the field.
Leeds Hardaker; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Delaney, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ward, Bailey. Substitutes used Moore, Lunt, Kirke, Griffin.
Bradford Kearney; Ainscough, Platt, Lulia, Pryce; Sammut, Gale; Manuokafoa, L'Estrange, Hargreaves, Elima, Whitehead, Langley. Substitutes used Walker, Olbison, Burgess, O'Brien.
Referee S Ganson (St Helens)Reuse content