Rugby League: No frills proves enough for Bulls

Bradford Bulls 20 Halifax Blue Sox 2

BRADFORD MADE light of the absence of the Paul brothers with a purposeful and efficient performance on a night which recalled the conditions under which winter rugby was often played at Odsal.

It was not a game for frills or flights of fancy and Bradford did the simple things far better than opponents whose confidence should have been high after beating Wigan last week.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect for the Bulls' coach, Matthew Elliott, was the response of two players he left out of his team last week, loose forward Steve McNamara and centre Nathan McAvoy.

McAvoy showed his best form since arriving as a big-money signing from Salford last year while McNamara, dropped after some sub-standard performances, came back to prove Bradford's most influential player on the night.

"It was the first time that Steve hasn't been picked since he came to the club," said Elliott. "The way he handled the disappointment was to come out and play like that tonight. I'm really proud for him."

The Bulls looked destined for an early try from the moment Graham Holroyd knocked on from the kick-off and it duly arrived after four minutes, with McNamara spreading the ball, McAvoy standing up in the tackle and Tevita Vaikona powering his way over in the corner.

Holroyd halved that lead when he landed a penalty after being obstructed by Brian McDermott, but Bradford always looked the more likely to adapt successfully to the conditions and would have had a second try through Paul Deacon if the referee had not spotted an illegal play-the-ball.

It was an occasion for good, basic rugby and Bradford had by far the bigger share of play, although a clever kick by Daryl Cardiss caused momentary alarm and Damian Gibson almost squeezed in by the corner flag.

Before half-time, however, Bradford extended their lead to something that began to reflect their dominance, Danny Peacock stealing the ball in a tackle, McDermott getting over the try line only to be held up and McNamara working the scrum base to send Michael Withers over.

Some of Bradford's composure mysteriously deserted them at the start of the second half when they briefly began to match Halifax for mistakes.

They were revived by their young prop, Stuart Fielden, who put them back on the right track by storming through the middle and sliding over the try line in Gibson's tackle.

McAvoy, showing much of the potential that seems to have been mislaid over the last couple of seasons, then took advantage of a neat pass by Deacon to crash over, while there were other touches to cheer Elliott in the contribution of the teenage back, Leon Pryce, in the latter stages of a match that was now firmly under control.

"I'm delighted and really proud of them, because it was a great team effort," said Elliott. "I hear a lot of talk about other clubs' team spirit and I probably play ours down, but there's a great atmosphere among the players at the moment.

"Our defensive effort was superb. They never looked like scoring."

For Elliott to be able to say that about a potentially tricky fixture like this shows just how solid this Bradford display was.

Bradford Bulls: Spruce; Vaikona, McAvoy, D Peacock, Withers; Boyle, Deacon; McDermott, Lowes, Anderson, Jowitt, Forshaw, McNamara. Substitutes used: Donougher, J Peacock, Pryce, Fielden.

Halifax Blue Sox: Cardiss; Gibson, Bouveng, Craig, Pinkney; Holroyd, Clinch; Broadbent, Rowley, Skerrett, Gillespie, Bloem, Chester. Substitutes used: Marshall, Moana, Clark, Seal.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style