Super League: Huddersfield Giants 52-26 Bradford Bulls

Huddersfield (26) 52

  • Tries: Connor, Ta'ai 2, Robinson, Bailey, McGillvary 3, Ferres, Wardle
  • Goals: Cudjoe 6

Bradford (16) 26

  • Tries: George 2, O'Brien, Kearney 2
  • Goals: Foster 3

Bradford Bulls have been relegated from Super League for the first time after losing at Huddersfield Giants.

Four-time champions Bradford, who will appeal against a six-point deduction for going into administration, were 26-16 down at half-time.

Brett Kearney's try gave Bulls hope, but Jermaine McGillvary's hat-trick, plus tries from Brett Ferres, Ukuma Ta'ai and Joe Wardle, sealed victory.

It means the Bulls join relegated London in the Championship next term.

The result, Bradford's sixth straight defeat, is the culmination of a torrid few years for the Odsal side, who have struggled financially, and recently changed head coach - with James Lowes replacing Francis Cummins.

Unfamiliar territory

Following their relegation, next season will be Bradford's first outside of the top flight since 1973-74

Sixth-placed Huddersfield, meanwhile, closed the gap on the top four to just three points.

The Bulls took an early lead when former Giants wing Luke George crossed on the right from a superb Lee Gaskell break, but a mistake from the restart allowed Jake Connor in for his first Huddersfield try in Super League on his home debut.

Adam O'Brien barged over to put the visitors back in front, but the Bulls then allowed Ta'ai to wriggle through after another error.

In a topsy-turvy opening period, George put down a pinpoint Gaskell kick, but the latter's slip allowed Leroy Cudjoe the space to let Luke Robinson in to make it 16-16.

Chris Bailey scampered onto an offload unopposed to put Huddersfield in front for the first time, before Giants wing McGillvary went over in the corner after excellent work from Cudjoe right on half-time.

Bulls' former glory

Super League champions: 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005

World Club Challenge wins: 2002, 2004, 2006

Challenge Cup wins: 1946-47, 1948-49, 2000, 2003

In the first play of the second half, Kearney went in at the left of the posts after Jamie Foster's conversion hit the post.

But Ferres powered over, Wardle went the length of the pitch after stealing possession from George and McGillvary added two more.

With four minutes left, Kearney helped the Bulls restore some pride by crossing for his second, but Ta'ai had the last word with a second of his own.

Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson:

"At this moment in time I'm thinking more about us and next week but obviously there is some sympathy there for Bradford.

"I have a lot of affinity with Bradford. I had a lot of success there.

"But they are where they are for a reason. They've got some good players but it's not worked out for them this year. It's sad to see.

"Our chairman has just said it was a landmark day for this club when they had to go down and re-group and they came back stronger.

"Jimmy knew the task in hand before he took the job and, if they can keep the majority of that squad together and make some useful additions, they will probably end up in that top four and fight for a place in Super League again."

Bradford head coach James Lowes:

"The lads definitely went down fighting and they will for the rest of the season. We know where we're at now, that's definite, but with that sort of character, they will get a win before the end of the year.

"I think the lads did themselves justice. I thought they went about their business really well.

"We want to play back at the very top and what we've got to do now is finish this season off in the right manner, prepare in pre-season for a tough Championship year, target the top four and then the top four of Super League and that gets us up.

"That's our challenge. I'm certainly up for that and the guys who will be stopping will certainly be up for it as well.

"We'll get the ball rolling on plan B, which has rapidly become plan A. Things will start happening hopefully in the next few weeks as regards recruitment."

Line-ups

Huddersfield: Connor, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Broughton, Brough, Robinson, Crabtree, Wood, Kaufusi, Ferres, Ta'ai, Lawrence.

Replacements: Kopczak, Bailey, Patrick, Mullally.

Bradford: Kearney, Foster, Arundel, Purtell, George, Gaskell, Gale, Manuokafoa, O'Brien, Fakir, Olbison, Walker, Donaldson.

Replacements: Sidlow, Mellor, Pitts, Addy.

Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow (RFL)