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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 April, 2003, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Bulls bravery wins the day

By Dave Woods
BBC Sport rugby league commentator

Leeds' Gary Connolly
Connolly should have received his award later, says Woods
This will be a final remembered for Bradford's bravery; for a defence that somehow dug deep for 20 punishing minutes when it seemed they were out for the count.

The Bulls, quite rightly, have a reputation for being able to blast away at most opponents.

That was never likely to be the case against Leeds, especially with Stuart Fielden sidelined.

For spells in the first half the Bulls looked leggy. After David Furner's 62nd-minute try, they looked out on their feet.

But somehow, despite Leeds throwing everything at them in the final quarter of the match, they had the character to lift themselves again and again to keep the Rhinos at bay.

It wasn't a classic, free-flowing festival but it was a great, gritty game.

It wasn't a classic, free-flowing festival but it was a great, gritty game
Dave Woods
There are a couple of moans though.

First, the noise from the PA system was depressingly deafening.

A sprinkling of music has added to many big matches in recent years, but to be blasted with noise after every goal, try and during every big-screen deliberation, totally drowned out the authentic atmosphere.

And will somebody please give the PA announcer his own padded cell so that he can enjoy the sound of his own voice without spoiling everyone else's entertainment?

The next is a general complaint - the video refereeing decisions are simply taking too long.

There's a growing argument for the video ref experiment to be abandoned simply because of the length of deliberations.

That would be the wrong move, but they need to be much sharper.

And finally, the decision to present Gary Connolly with his Lance Todd Trophy, singling him out for attention in the depths of his depression, was clearly wrong.

Having just been a man-of-the-match winner but Challenge Cup loser, he, like any other player, would clearly have preferred for the ground to have opened up rather than be the star of a manufactured ceremony.

We need to go back to awarding that prize at the traditional dinner days later when all the fuss has died down.

Bradford win Challenge Cup
26 Apr 03  |  Challenge Cup

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