Rugby League: Bulls take control

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BRADFORD BULLS enhanced their growing Super League championship credentials when they became only the second team to triumph at the International Stadium, beating Gateshead Thunder 22-12.

In emulating Leeds' achievement on the opening day of the season, the Bulls took full advantage of St Helens' defeat at Wakefield on Friday night, to cut Saints' lead at the top of the table to one point.

Bradford were made to fight all the way by Gateshead, who lead for a period in the second half when full-back Steve Collins took Craig Simon's pass and forced his way through the two-man tackle of Paul Deacon and Leon Pryce to touch down. Deacon made amends when he jinked his way through the home defence for substitute Warren Jowitt to score on the hour, Deacon adding the conversion, and Henry Paul kicked a 67th-minute penalty to give his side breathing space. The Bulls then finished as they began, in control, as the 17-year-old Pryce finished off a break from the otherwise subdued James Lowes to grab his side's third try and Paul added the goal.

The Kiwi international Gary Mercer capped his comeback from a career- threatening injury with a second-half try as Halifax swept aside disappointing Hull 30-12 at The Shay.

The 32-year-old, told he would never play again after displacing vertebrae in his neck during the opening day defeat against Warrington, charged over to put Halifax in control. Hull's Robert Roberts was placed on report after a late and high elbow on Gavin Clinch.