Rugby League: Bulls start off in rampant form

Bradford Bulls 58 Warrington Wolves 20
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The Independent Online
A hat-trick from Robbie Paul provided the springboard for a rampaging Bradford Bulls performance to open their Super League campaign at Odsal last night. Although they were generous enough to allow an outclassed Warrington an occasional try Bradford's attacking flair meant that the 15,000 crowd was always likely to go away well satisfied, writes Dave Hadfield.

Bradford began their season as they finished the last, with the brash presentation and the exhilarating play that made them such a breath of fresh air. Within seven minutes, they were 12 points up, having twice gone through the Warrington defence.

Paul did the damage for the first try, racing through a gap created by James Lowes and Stuart Spruce to score. Graeme Bradley, who was not even meant to be playing after having his thumb in plaster all week, then slipped a lovely pass to send Jon Scales storming down the wing.

Steve McNamara landed both goals and it could have been worse for Warrington if Scales had not lost his footing on the way to what would have been a spectacular second try.

Warrington were still in danger of going out of the match without ever being in it, but then, with their first attack, they scored, Nigel Vagana coming into the line after a scrum and finding a gap as inviting as the ones Bradford had exploited.

That was a brief hint of a revival that was quickly snuffed out by the wonderful running skills of Paul, who left the Warrington defence stranded with a dummy and a side- step to go 40 yards and score.

Two more goals from the accurate McNamara took Bradford to 20 points for the half, but shortly before the break Warrington had a slice of luck that kept them vaguely in the match when a suspiciously forward pass from Salesi Finau saw Chris Rudd go in at the corner.

Warrington started the second half no better than they had the first, allowing Spruce to romp through for Bradford's fourth try after 42 minutes.

The parallels continued with another score in rapid succession, McNamara's excellent ball and Paul Laughlin's inside pass giving Paul his hat-trick.

When Brian McDermott stretched out an arm to score, despite half the Warrington pack clinging to him, it was getting embarrassing and McNamara soon punished some more inadequate tackling to go in for a try to set alongside his goal-kicking.

Tony Tatupu was awarded a penalty try for Warrington and Andy Currier's touchdown added a further veneer of respectability but Spruce, Lowes and Danny Peacock rounded off a display that heralds a hugely promising season for the Bulls.

Bradford Bulls: Spruce; Scales, Peacock, Bradley, Loughlin; Paul, Tomlinson; McDermott, Lowes, Nickle, Donougher, Dwyer, McNamara. Substitutes used: Jowitt, Reihana, Cook, Medley.

Warrington Wolves: Vagana; Mafi, Kohe-Love, Roper, Forster, Shelford, Swann, Finau, Dermott, Chambers, Holden, Tatupu, Davies. Substitutes used: Rudd, Currier, Stevens, Mann.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).

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