Hunslet RLFC 36-18 Bradford Bulls
Hunslet RLFC finished off their pre-season matches before next Sunday’s League 1 opener at Doncaster with a resounding victory over a second string Bradford Bulls outfit on Saturday (16 February 2019).
The final score flattered Bradford who scored 18 unanswered points in the final 10 minutes as Hunslet rang the changes.
The damage had been done in the first half with the home team dominant. Especially down the right hand channel with centre Nathan Chappell regularly punching holes in the Bulls’ defence.
Two slipped passes from Chappell put new signing Gareth Potts over for a brace in the corner and Chappell bagged one himself with a barnstorming run.
Also impressive for Hunslet were the half back pairing of Reece Dean and Danny Nicklas. Dean scoring the opener on 10 minutes after a Jimmy Watson break and was instrumental in most of the other Hunslet tries. 20-0 at the break then, to the home side.
The second half started much the same, within 3 minutes Hunslet were over again. This time Michael Haley benefiting from a Reece Dean pass.
The threat still came down Hunslet’s right, now with Ben Heaton in the centre. The ex-Halifax man went over on 50 minutes, and with a change at Half Back Joe Sanderson added the extra’s taking over kicking duties from Reece Dean. 32-0.
Although Bradford went close when a try was disallowed, Hunslet saved the best ‘til last with a fantastic try on the left for Cain Southernwood after great hands.
Joe Sanderson’s long floated pass would have produced a great try had Marcus Webb not have brushed the whitewash but at 36-0 the game was won.
Coach Gary Thornton will not have been a happy man in the home team’s dressing room as what looked like a consolation try for McGill on 70 minutes turned into a mini Bradford fightback. Two more tries were scored to make the score more respectable at 36-18 and the shine was taken off the Hunslet performance.
Still though, some great positives for Hunslet. Dean and Nicklas were impressive at Half Back giving Gary Thornton a selection headache for next week. Chappell and Heaton looked strong and there was also a top performance from Jimmy Watson.
Nice also to see ex-Hunslet favourite David Foggin-Johnston in a Bradford shirt.
The real season gets underway next week at Doncaster though, who have started well by winning at hotly tipped Newcastle. This will be a tester to find out where Hunslet really are at.
Hunslet RLFC: Jimmy Watson, Gareth Potts, Nathan Chappell, Tom Ashton, Marcus Webb, Reece Dean, Danny Nicklas, Richard Moore, Vila Halafihi, Dan Hawksworth, Duane Straugheir, Ben Heaton, Michael Emmett. Interchange: Zach Braham, Nyle Flynn, Michael Haley, Aiden Hema, Jack Lee, Joe Sanderson, Cain Southernwood, Ryan Wright.
Bradford Bulls: Alix Stephenson, Joshua Rickett, Elliott Culling, Ashley Gibson, David Foggin-Johnstone, George Milton, Cobi Green, Trae O’Sullivan, Thomas Doyle, Keelan Foster, Evan Hodgson, Matthew Storton, Michael Wood. Interchange: Ryan Butterworth, Luke Littlewood, Jake Lightowler, Lochlan McGill, Ebon Scurr, Bradley Gallagher.
Referee: M Smaill
Photo: Paul Johnson Phoenix Photography