Rugby League: `Faking' claim against Tigers

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The Independent Online
THE CASTLEFORD forward Lee Harland was accused of faking injury as the Tigers battled out an 18-18 draw with 12-man Bradford in a gripping Super League game at Wheldon Road yesterday.

The Bulls prop forward Paul Anderson was sent off in the 74th minute following a clash that left Harland prostrate on the ground. Anderson appeared to lead with his forearm as he carried the ball into the tackle, and the St Helens referee, Steve Ganson, did not hesitate in giving him his marching orders.

Harland, who played on after receiving treatment, was immediately condemned by the angry Bradford coach, Matthew Elliott. "The bloke that got hit laid on the ground when he wasn't hurt," he claimed. "It makes me sick. Rugby league players shouldn't do that."

Bradford, who had led for most of the game, had just gone 18-16 behind when reduced to 12 men, but loose forward Steve McNamara rescued a point with a fifth successful kick at goal four minutes from the end in a grandstand finish to a match played at breakneck speed in sultry conditions.

The Castleford coach, Stuart Raper, described the result as a point lost and was also critical of the referee, who several times held up play to consult his touch judges. "I'm left scratching my head about some of the decisions," he said. "I thought it was a point lost."

Castleford, urged on by their biggest-ever Super League crowd of 10,122, lost Danny Orr with a knee injury midway through the second half but looked to have stolen victory when they took the lead for the first time with Gael Tallec's 72nd-minute try.

The Tigers, who went into the game with the best defensive record in Super League, outscored the visitors by three tries to two - but defeat would have been tough on either side.

Bradford, bolstered by the return of Robbie and Henry Paul from international duty, were thankful to McNamara for all their first-half points as he scored three goals and a try.

Castleford's persistence paid off when their long-serving prop forward Dean Sampson knocked defenders flying on a 10-metre barge to the line to grab his first score of the season and the 50th of his 10-year career.

Castleford, trailing 10-6 at half-time, clawed back the deficit to just two points with an Orr penalty and Bradford lost Stuart Spruce to a professional foul that earned the full-back a spell in the sin bin.

But the Bulls made light of their numerical disadvantage to extend their lead on 50 minutes when Robbie Paul touched down, McNamara's fourth goal making it 16-8.

Castleford's prospects looked bleak when Orr was helped off with a knee injury, but they clawed their way back in the dramatic finale.

Warrington Wolves continued their impressive start to the season with a 40-4 win over Sheffield, while Hull's Rob Nolan grabbed two tries to give his side their first win of the season at the eighth attempt, a 29- 22 win at Wakefield. It enabled Hull to climb off the foot of the Super League table and lifted some of the pressure on their coach, Peter Walsh.

Two tries apiece from winger Matt Daylight and substitute Andrew Hick helped Gateshead record their fourth consecutive win, a 36-10 victory over Huddersfield at the Thunderdome in front of an improved crowd of 2,616.

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