Super League: Bradford 22-42 Leeds

Kevin Sinfield

Bradford (6) 22

Tries:
Kear 2, Evans, Kearney
Goals:
Sammut 3

Leeds (30) 42

Tries:
Ablett 2, Watkins, Achurch, McGuire, Bailey, Hardaker
Goals:
Sinfield 7

Leeds Rhinos gave evidence of their Super League credentials with a ruthlessly-taken victory against West Yorkshire rivals Bradford Bulls.

Five first-half tries of seven in total quelled the spirited Bulls, who fought back in the second half but were unable to match the Rhinos' power.

Carl Ablett scored a brace, while Kevin Sinfield booted seven goals on his 450th appearance.

Bradford responded with four tries in total, three of which were converted.

Kallum Watkins, Mitch Achurch, Danny McGuire, Ryan Bailey and Zak Hardaker scored the other Rhinos tries, while Elliot Kear's brace added to efforts from Ben Evans and Brett Kearney for Bradford.

The corresponding game at Headingley over the Easter period was a close-fought affair, ending 18-18 after Bulls levelled late on but they were never close to a rampant Rhinos in this rematch.

Brian McDermott's side could even afford some moments of indiscipline, after a stunning first 40 minutes laid the platform for victory.

They flew out of the blocks, Watkins showing pace and balance to run 60 metres for a superb solo try after just five minutes.

And two minutes later they extended their lead. Achurch finished it but the move owed so much to the subtle hands of McGuire as the ball went through Brett Delaney, Sinfield and Hardaker en route to the former Penrith forward.

Bradford were offered some hope by Rhinos indiscipline but, just as Jarrod Sammut's break lifted the home fans, Matty Blythe's obstruction passed the baton back to Leeds and they capitalised when Ablett wriggled over from Burrow's dummy-half pass.

McGuire and Bulls hooker Heath L'Estrange clashed as the Rhinos playmaker was deemed to have tackled high, and that offence led to a Bulls try as former Manly number nine L'Estrange passed inside to Warrington loanee Evans who stretched out to touch down.

That try seemed to reignite Leeds, their response showing just how potent they can be even from deep.

After forcing the drop-out which Sammut hammered into the Rhinos half, Delaney's carry, McShane's intelligent break from acting half-back and a typical supporting run from McGuire restored the three-try cushion.

Errors led to the visitors fifth try, although Keith Lulia's knock on at the play the ball was contentious, with Leeds' Jamie Jones-Buchanan in the mix close to the Bulls line. And Bailey then powered over on his return from suspension to score.

Bulls roared back in the second period to rouse the crowd, first when L'Estrange boomed a ball out to Kear after the hosts forced a repeat set. And then when McGuire conceded a penalty for kicking out at the play-the-ball, playmaker Sammut feeeded Kearney to romp over.

Hardaker shrugged off tackles from Gale and Kear to score and establish a 20-point lead and, once Ablett went over from a scrum-play, Bradford's brave effort was over, despite a slippery late score from Kear.

VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott:

"It doesn't take much to be miles ahead of where we were last year. We're reasonably happy with where we are but things can quickly turn and we're not going to get carried away. We're 12 games in so there is half a season to go before we start to think how it looks in terms of the play-offs.

"We looked impressive for periods, in that first half especially, but we knew this game was going to be a fight at some stage and there were spells when they made a contest of it.

"In the second half you've got to give a lot of credit to Bradford, who threw a lot at us, but I thought we were very good. Things are working for us at the moment, they're making that extra effort."

Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins:

"They were too good for us at the start. You can't allow Leeds to get four tries in front.

"We had a few players out but we showed a lack of composure. There was a real good reaction after half-time, though, and I'm happy with the character. They work hard for each other, they are trying really hard.

"We've hit the wall results wise but we will be better. We need to dust ourselves off for London in the cup."

FRIDAY'S LINE-UPS

Bradford Bulls: Kearney; Kear, Blythe, Lulia, Purtell, Sammut; Gale, Scruton; Diskin, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Whitehead, Walker.

Replacements: L'Estrange, Addy, Evans, Sidlow.

Leeds: Hardaker, Watkins, Ablett, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Sinfield, Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Achurch, Delaney, Jones-Buchanan.

Replacements: McShane, Kirke, Clarkson, Bailey.

Attendance: 12,016.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (RFL).