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Bradford kicked off the final game of the Jubilee weekend in the Betfred Championship - with  Featherstone expected to win and return to the top of the table.

The Bulls, with just three wins in the last six games, would be happy to reverse last month's 32-18 loss to Rovers.

The hosts had first use of the ball, playing up the slope in the opening 40 minutes and dominating the early part of the game. And with less than five minutes gone, Bulls prop Muizz Mustapha had to leave the field for a head injury assessment after going clumsily into a defensive tackle.

With 10 minutes gone, though, Bradford looked odds on for the game's first score when they powered through the Robers line just 10m out – but were blown up for a forward pass.

On the next set, however, Featherstone powered to the Bulls 10m line down the right.

Morgan Smith kicked across field, and when Bradford's Sam Kibula couldn't collect the ball, Jack Bussey caught it instead for an easy score where he needed to do little more than fall over the line.

Mark Kheirallah's conversion gave the Rovers a 6-0 lead.

Two minutes later, Rovers powered down the right again, and second rower John Davies dabbed the ball into the in-goal. Centre Joey Leilua beat two defenders in the chase and scored. 

Kheirallah again made no mistake with the kick for a 12-0 to the hosts.

Ryley Jacks was the next to dive over on the left for the third try. Kheirallah converted and Rovers led 18-0 with three converted tries in an eight-minute spell

The fourth try came minutes later when Bussey dived over for his second, while Kheirallah kicked his fourth goal from four attempts for a 24-0 scoreline.

The fifth try in 14 minutes came when Hellewell was the next to cross the Bradford line on the left. Kheirallah made it five from five and the scoreboard read 30-0.

On the 33rd minute, though, George Flanagan restored some Bulls interest in the game, running over from dummy half to put Bradford on the scoreboard at 30-4. That became 30-6 with Declan Patton's conversion.

But the Bulls had no answer to the wave after wave of Rovers attacking posession and the half-time hooter came as a welcome relief and a chance to go back to the dressing room for a rethink.

A medical emergency in the crowd delayed the restart. When play did get back under way at 9:15, Bradford came out showing an attacking awareness that had evaded them in the first half.

But their first defensive set looked fragile and only ended well because of an error by the Rovers, 25m from the Bradford line. Inevitably, though, the first tackle after the scrum for Featherstone's knock-on saw Kieran Gill spill the ball in the first tackle and gift Rovers possession.

And it was Rovers who opened the second-half scoring after Bradford gave away a penalty in their own half. Fev moved the ball rapidly to the left and Connor Jones ran over in the corner. Kheirallah converted from the touchline and Rovers now led 36-6.

Kieran Gill gave the Bulls a moment of hope when he stole the ball one-on-one in a tackle just outside the Rovers tryline, but then spilled it as he crossed and tried to score.

Instead, it was Jacks who crossed in the opposite corner when he fooled the Bradford defence with a dummy and took the score to 40-6 in Featherstone's favour. Kheirallah managed the unthinkable and missed his first kick at goal of the evening.

But to make up for it, Bradford invited them to attack again by being offside at the kick-off. Kheirallah brought the attack to a nothing end when he passed to his right and found the first row of the stand.

On 60 minutes though, the Bulls did find a chink of light when Thomas Doyle repeated Flanagan's first half move - scooting from dummy half and beating two defender to score. Patton converted and the score stood at 40-12.

That seemed to spur the Featherstone attack in retaliation.

Davies restored Rovers' margin when he ran onto a short pass and spun in the tackle over the line to ground the line. Kheirallah was back on form with the kicking tee and Fev led 46-12.

Bradford were starting nearly every set from their own line, and the effects were showing as the game entered its final 10 minutes.

The latest break came when Bradford fullback Elliot Hall raced back to deal with a high kick to the  corner but couldn't take the ball, which spilled to the ground. Leilua scooped it up and grounded it over the whitewash for a 52-12 scoreline when Kheirallah kicked the conversion.

Morgan Smith took the score further out of reach on 77 minutes, racing in from 30m out to ground the ball under the posts. Again, Kheirallah kicked the conversion. The score stood at 58-12 and there it remained for the next two minutes until the final hooter.

Featherstone dominated throughout and put down a sizeable marker for their next match - a top-of-the-table tie against the Leigh side who beat them in the 1895 Cup Final last weekend.

Featherstone Rovers: Kheirallah (9G); Briscow, Leilua (2T), Hellewell (T), Gale; Smith (T), Jacks (2T); Kopczak, Wildie, Cooper, Bussey (2T), Davies (T), Moore. Subs: Jones (T), Eseh, Hepi, Cuthbertson.

Bradford Bulls: Hall; Millar, Dawson-Jones, Gill, Burton; Patton (2G), Lilley; Baldwinson, Doyle (T), Mustapha, Kibula, Wallace, Evans. Subs: Flanagan (T), Hoyle, Scurr, Crossley.

HT: 30-6.

FT: 58-12.

Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 12-0, 16-0, 18-0, 22-0, 24-0, 28-0, 30-0, 30-4, 30-6. HT. 34-6, 36-6, 40-6, 40-10, 40-12, 44-12, 46-12, 50-12, 52-12, 56-12, 58-12 : FT.

Lead Exchange: Featherstone.

Venue: Millenium Stadium, Featherstone.

Referee: Michael Smaill.




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Posted by tb on Mon 6th Jun 2022 7:16 PM | Views : 6843 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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