Challenge Cup: Bradford Bulls 24-22 Leeds Rhinos
|Coral Challenge Cup|
|Bradford Bulls (22) 24|
|Tries: Grant, Webster, Hallas, Wood Goals: Milnes 4|
|Leeds Rhinos (14) 22|
|Tries: Lolohea, McLelland, Newman, Briscoe Goals: Sutcliffe 3|
Championship side Bradford shocked Super League Leeds Rhinos to reach the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.
They led 22-14 at half-time thanks to tries from Dalton Grant, Jake Webster, Sam Hallas and Mikey Wood and defended for their lives after the break.
The Rhinos, who have Richard Agar in caretaker charge after the sacking of David Furner, almost forced extra-time when Tom Briscoe crossed late on.
But Liam Sutcliffe's conversion hit the post, and the Bulls held out.
In front of a rocking crowd at Odsal, this marked perhaps the biggest moment for the five-time winners since a fall from grace that seemed to have reached its low point when they were relegated from Super League in 2014, but got much worse when the club was liquidated three years later.
Since then, rugby league stalwart John Kear has masterminded their resurgence and this latest victory is arguably up there with his most famous Challenge Cup shock - victory with Sheffield Eagles over Wigan in the 1998 final.
And in what was the first competitive meeting between Bradford and Leeds since the Bulls dropped out of the top flight, his side were undoubtedly the deserved winners.
With the Rhinos in disarray themselves, Kear's team took full advantage. Although they twice fell behind, first to an early Tuimoala Lolohea score and then when Callum McLelland responded to Grant's try, Bradford could not be broken.
Webster, Hallas and Wood all made the most of a weak Leeds defence to barge over, while Rowan Milnes stretched the advantage from the tee.
After the break came an inevitable fightback with tries from Harry Newman and then Briscoe. But after years of hurt and despair, the Bulls fans roared their team home, breathing a sigh of relief as Sutcliffe's goal bounced clear off the upright.
Bradford head coach John Kear told BBC Sport:
"My word we put a performance in and we got the result so I'm absolutely over the moon.
"It was stacked against us [after travelling back from an away game in Toronto] but no-one else knows these men's spirits.
"They're really tight as a group, are happy to work hard for each other and even when they're out on their feet they'll go again. I'm immensely proud of them.
"I think it's a statement for the club and our rebuild as well. It's fantastic to have over 10-thousand fans back here too - what a great day, I love the Challenge Cup."
Leeds interim head coach Richard Agar told BBC Sport:
"It hurts and so it should. Defensively we didn't make enough tackles, made errors and committed penalties, and when we got the football a lot of the time we played sideways so it was a very poor performance.
"I can't take anything away from the opposition, I thought the energy and commitment they played with was something we should look at ourselves.
"This is probably a low point of our season. The players have had a difficult week mentally and emotionally but I still don't think that's an excuse for the performance we saw which was poor in pretty much every department."
Bradford Bulls: Ryan, Webster, Kirk, Crossley, Minchella, Wood, Lilley, Hallas, Grant, Foggin-Johnston, Farrell, Oakes, Milnes.
Interchanges: Wildie, Green, Peltier, Storton.
Leeds Rhinos: Briscoe, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Lolohea, Merrin, Myler, Sutcliffe, Peteru, Smith, McLelland, Newman, Seumanufagai.
Interchanges: Cuthbertson, Parcell, Oledzki, Albert.