Rugby League: Bradford at a loss over referee's calls

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The Independent Online
Bradford Bulls crashed to another heavy defeat in the World Club Championship and promptly crossed Bill Harrigan off their Christmas card list.

The Bulls were beaten 54-14 by Penrith and blamed the Australian referee for the scale of their loss. Harrigan allowed two tries after knock-ons at the play-the-ball and another after a clear forward pass.

"We needed a few breaks the other way if we were going to compete with the Australian teams and we just didn't get them," the Bradford captain, Graeme Bradley, said.

Bradford did not help themselves with some rank indiscipline, which was partly responsible for a heavy penalty count against them.

They also had James Lowes and Matt Calland sent to the sin-bin before half-time, which led to them playing with 11 men for a time, and had Sonny Nickle placed on report for a high tackle.

Bradford were competitive for the first half-hour, with Mike Forshaw keeping them in touch with their first try and Danny Peacock narrowly failing to touch down for another score that would have given them the lead.

However, they conceded three tries while they were short-handed and, despite further efforts of their own through Peacock and Calland, were well beaten once more. Penrith's Ryan Girdler finished with 22 points from two tries and nine goals.

The North Queensland centre, Paul Bowman, has been told that he has no case to answer after being placed on report for a suspected high tackle during his side's match at Salford.

His coach, Tim Sheens, is still likely to send for a front-row reinforcement in time for Sunday's match at Leeds, as John Lomax has gone home following a death in his family and Ian Roberts will be out injured.

The Brisbane Broncos are another side likely to be depleted for their final game in Britain. They are likely to send their captain, Allan Langer, home for treatment on his groin injury, and the forward, Brad Thorn, has been told that he must face a disciplinary hearing on Thursday following his sending-off against London Broncos.

Martin Offiah could have played his last game for London. His agent, Alan McColm, said that a 12-match agreement with the club is at an end and that Offiah will not appear again without a new one.

Warrington and St Helens are both showing interest in Grant Young, the New Zealand international prop who has been unable to hold down a first- team place at Auckland Warriors.

Young was signed for his previous club, the South Queensland Crushers, by the present Warrington coach, Darryl Van de Velde.