Super League: Bradford Bulls 22-23 Catalan Dragons

Brent Webb

Bradford Bulls (18) 22

Tries:
Lulia 2, Kearney, Purtell
Goals:
Foster 3

Catalan Dragons (4) 23

Tries:
Pala, Fakir, Webb, Henderson
Goals:
Bosc 3
Drop-goal:
Bosc

Brent Webb scored a try on his comeback and Thomas Bosc kicked a late drop-goal as Catalan Dragons dented Bradford's Super League play-off ambitions.

Two tries from Keith Lulia and another from Brett Kearney gave the Bulls a 14-point lead, Mathias Pala replying.

Jamal Fakir and Webb closed the gap further, before Adrian Purtell looked to have won it for Bradford.

But with Kearney in the sin bin, Ian Henderson crossed to level the scores and Bosc's kick won it for Catalans.

on Sunday means the French side are sixth in the table, two points clear of the two East Yorkshire rivals and six ahead of the Bulls.

Ninth-placed Bradford, who have 20 points, need to win their final three games to maintain any realistic chance of sneaking into the top eight.

Full-back Webb had been out for around five months following back surgery and was making only his fourth appearance for the Dragons since his move from Leeds Rhinos at the end of the 2012 season.

He created their first try with a kick for Pala, after Lulia had collected Danny Addy's pass to open the scoring for the hosts.

Kearney started and finished the move that extended Bradford's lead and centre Lulia's second in the corner put the Bulls in command.

Catalans responded strongly after the interval, with Fakir making the most of Lopini Paea's break and then Webb touching down for his comeback score from Leon Pryce's pass.

Kearney set up Purtell to put Bradford 22-18 ahead, but the full-back was involved in the game's turning point as he saw yellow for holding down former Bulls man Elliott Whitehead, who was playing at Odsal for the first time since his mid-season departure.

Visiting hooker Henderson dashed over from dummy-half to ensure a tense finale, and with time running out, Bosc struck a decisive one-pointer and a massive blow to Bradford's hopes of a play-off spot.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Bradford Bulls head coach Francis Cummins:

"They started the second-half really strong. We knew we were going to give away some size to them in the forwards department, but we didn't come and meet them enough like we did in the first-half.

"You can't give a side that much possession. We scrambled really well and worked hard, but you can't allow a team like that to have so much ball on their terms - we lost our way in the second half.

"We had a chance to finish that game off and kill it but we didn't. We gave them too many chances and too much ball."

Catalan Dragons head coach Laurent Frayssinous:

"I'm really happy for Elliott [Whitehead] in particular. He had a lot of emotion in the build-up to the game. The situation wasn't ideal for him but we all stuck around him as a group and they helped him to perform.

"I think the performance against Saints, and in the last few weeks, we've been doing alright, but there has definitely been a lack of confidence in the camp.

"Even today, we dropped a lot of ball but you could see that we're sticking together no matter what happens and you could see what it meant to the guys at the end."

SUNDAY'S LINE-UPS

Bradford Bulls: Kearney; Kear, Purtell, Lulia, Foster; Addy, Gale; Scruton, Diskin, Manuokafoa, Langley, Olbison, Walker.

Replacements: Sammut, L'Estrange, Donaldson, Evans.

Sin Bin: Kearney (73).

Catalan Dragons: Webb; Blanch, Menzies, Duport, Pala; Pryce, Bosc; Bousquet, Henderson, Casty, Larroyer, Whitehead, Mounis.

Replacements: Elima, Pelissier, Paea, Fakir.

Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).

Attendance: 7,850