A difficult loss for the Hawks as an impressive Bradford continues their strong start to the season.
Bradford opened the scoring just 5 minutes in when Jake Mullaney broke through what had been a strong Hawks line to score; Jimmy Watson unable to chase him down before he reached the line. Full back Ryan Shaw stepped up and missed the extra points.
The Hawks, in shock, couldn’t pull themselves together before Danny Williams created a gap, finding Lee Gaskell to finish the move with just seven minutes played. This time an easier kick for Ryan Shaw, who converted the extras with ease.
Bradford were on the front foot, a 40/20 gave them the ball in great attacking position. Bradford couldn’t make this pressure pay the first time round, but were given another opportunity when Hunslet spilt the ball from a Bradford chip. This time Adam O’Brien danced past two Hawks defenders to score their third just 12 minutes in. Another easy kick for Shaw. The Hawks now with a 16 point deficit barely a quarter of the way into the game.
The Bulls maintained their early pressure. Danny Williams going close, nearly gathering a kick from Gaskell, just seconds after their last try.
Hunslet restarted on their own 10 but the Bulls defence was just as powerful as their attack. Hunslet completed their set but a poor kick was fielded on the half way line. Bradford looked to catch Hunslet quickly on the attack but Jimmy Keinhorst was wise to the move with a brilliant tackle.
The Bradford attack didn’t let up though, with Jake Mullaney breaking a tackle and finding Shaw to score his second try of the game; just 18 minutes into the game.
The Hawks, now trailing by 22, put up a valiant defence as the Bulls had another attack on the line. The resulting kick nearly snuck it’s way in but Jimmy Watson managed to grab the ball and scramble to keep it out of the in goal, alleviating the pressure for the time being.
With 28 minutes played, the Hawks still hadn’t broken from their own half. The Bulls regained possession and in a move straight from the training ground, Ryan Shaw found himself in the clear. A fantastic pass delivered to Jean Philippe Baile set the Frenchman in to score. Shaw kicked the extras, and the score was now 28-0.
The Hawks had seemingly grown into the game throughout, despite the scoreline. The Bulls formerly rampaging offence was being slowed and not being allowed the time and space it previously had.
The Hawks attack was looking stronger as well; a fantastic return from a Bulls kick by a combination of Watson, Flanagan and Mackay started a Hawks set just 10 meters from the Bulls line – their best attack of the game so far.
Dual-Registered debutant Brett Delaney and Brad Brennan tried to force a try with brute strength but both were held just short of the line. The following Hawks kick was deemed to have been played at and the Hawks were presented another opportunity for the line. Brennan, Keinhorst, and Flanagan all attempted to push their way in, but were all held up.
The Bulls reclaimed the ball after a good spell of pressure from the Hawks, who had seemingly risen to the occasion now, but Hunslet forced a turnover on the half way as Bradford looked to attack. Hunslet now looked into the game attempting to finish the half with a flourish. A great kick and chase from the Hawks pinned the Bulls in their own 20 metres.
Bradford’s impressive attack soon hit top gear again. They found themselves deep in Hunslet territory late into the first half. A kick from Gaskell was found in the corner by Danny Williams as the half time hooter sounded. Shaw again kicked the extras to send the home side in 34-0 at the half time break.
The Hawks started the second half like a completely different team. Instantly applying pressure to the Bradford line, putting the home side under real pressure. The Hawks looked much stronger defensively, Bradford begun to really struggle to create any attacking momentum.
The first real Bradford attack came ten minuets into the second period, scoring what turned out to be a disallowed try; much to the merriment of the traveling fans, who, despite the score line, were still in great voice.
The Hawks were now throwing everything they had defensively at the Bulls. The game was now much more of a contest. James Duckworth looked set to build on the success in the early stages of the second half, touching down for what appeared to be the opening score of the game for the traveling side. Luck was not on the youngster’s side though, as he was deemed to have gone into touch before touching it down.
Spurred on by the unfortunate decision against the Hawks, the Bulls looked set to attack again and quickly pounced on the misfortune of the Hawks. Clever offloads from Bradford cost Hunslet dearly as Tom Olbison broke what had been a stalemate in the second to score for Bradford. Ryan Shaw kicked another conversion to take the home side past 40 in the game.
Hunslet were restless and still looked to make an impact in the game, despite the score. The kick following a Bulls set was received by Jimmy Watson who managed to travel nearly 50 meters down the pitch, setting the Hawks up in great field position.
This field position was not wasted by Hunslet as Luke Briscoe found the space he needed to score. The away section reached a new level of noise as they celebrated what had been a long awaited opening to their scoring in what had been a difficult game. Brown swiftly converted the kick, the Hawks still with a large deficit but the crowds and the players now with a little extra spring in their step. The score 40-6.
Bradford didn’t wait long to increase the misery they were intent upon inflicting; scoring again in the 66th minute. Ryan Shaw touching down his third of the day in impressive style, kicking his own conversion. The Bulls now back with a 40 point lead.
Just a minute later, the Bulls scored yet again, this time Adam O’Brien, with what could only be described as a sensational try, racing past the Hawks defence and charging over 30 metres to score. Another two points from Shaw which took the Bulls over the half century mark; the score now 52-6.
With just 10 minutes left, both teams seemed set to let time play out. The attacks of both teams were being well swallowed up by the opposition defenders time after time.
With just a minute left in the game though, clever offloads from the Bulls again found their intended targets. Jake Mullaney scored his second of the afternoon and the last try of the day. Ryan Shaw again kicking the conversion and closing up the scoring.
The full time hooter sounded and the game was in the book a 56-6 loss for the visitors, but you couldn’t tell that from the visiting fans. Despite the result, the Hawks fans were fantastic throughout and helped to create what was a great atmosphere at Odsal.
Hunslet Coach Barry Eaton spoke following the game on the teams’ much better showing in the second half.
“Second half I thought mentally, we showed up well to turn that around… We made some line breaks, could have had a couple of scores, so yeah really positive stuff to take out of that second half.”
Bradford: Shaw, Henry, Purtell, Baile, Williams, Gaskell, Mullaney, Clough, O’Brein, Sidlow, Pits, Walshaw, Mellor. Interchange Flemming, Olbison, Ferguson, Tahraoui
Hunslet: Watson, Duckworth, Keinhorst, Maun, Finnigan, Brown, Ansell, Yates, Lee, Mulhern, Delaney, Casey, Houston. Interchange Flanagan, Briscoe, Mackay, Brennan