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Bradford 0-19 Crusaders

Bradford Bulls (0) 0

Crusaders (13) 19
Tries: Witt 2, Sammut Goals: Witt 3 Drop Goals: : Witt

By Ged Scott
BBC Sport at Murrayfield

Michael Witt
Michael Witt ran in two first-half tries and scored 15 points in total

Former Bradford Bulls coach Brian Noble marshalled Crusaders to victory over his old club as Murrayfield's Magic Weekend opener served up a shock.

Stand-off Michael Witt scored 15 of his side's 19 points, running in two first-half tries, as well as kicking a drop goal and three conversions.

And, having looked comfortable in holding a 13-0 half-time lead, fellow Aussie Jarrod Sammut secured victory.

The Crusaders substitute scored on his debut to finish off fifth-placed Bulls.

Murrayfield was less than a quarter full for the first encounter of this year's fourth staging of Super League's much-hyped Magic Weekend.

With the Edinburgh skies overcast and the temperature north of the border considerably colder than might normally be expected of a May morning, the first 20 minutes' fare was less than magical.

But Crusaders do have one man on their team well used to playing at Murrayfield, former Wales rugby union captain Gareth Thomas.

And it was his stunning 60-metre break that set up the game's opening try on 22 minutes. Thomas was tackled but Bradford's cover still failed to get back in time to prevent stand-off Michael Witt going under the posts.

Witt himself added the extras before dropping a goal to cushion Crusaders' lead two minutes before the interval.


But, just a minute later, there was an even bigger bonus when Witt slipped in for a second try just seconds before the half-time hooter, improving that one too to carve a 13-0 interval lead for Noble's men.

Bradford came close to pulling back a try 12 minutes minutes from time when Brett Kearney went over in the left corner. But the video referee rightly ruled that he had spilled the ball as he crossed the line.

Instead, it was Sammut who wrapped up the points at the other end with nine minutes left when the bounce fell kindly following his own kick through.

The former Penrith Panthers utility back's first taste of Super League ended a six-month lay-off due to ankle surgery, and was all the more impressive as his coach Noble revealed after the game that it came despite the effects of jet lag.

His kick completed a miserable Murrayfield experience for Bulls, 40-4 winners over Hull KR just a week ago.

Admittedly, Bulls coach Steve McNamara, who succeeded Noble in the hotseat at Odsal, was not helped by having to change his side at the last minute.

Michael Platt damaged his heel in the warm-up and was replaced by Jason Crookes, while scrum-half Matt Orford went off with a shoulder injury early in the second half.

But Crusaders' fifth win of the season was well deserved. And, not only did it end the Bulls' six-match unbeaten run, it was the first time they have been 'nilled' in four years.

Crusaders coach Brian Noble said:

"I'm pleased we responded after last week when we had a lot of players not play to their potential. Bradford have been in such good form, I knew we would have to be good to beat them and I thought we were very good.

"Jarrod Sammut only got off the plane at 1000 BST on Friday. But it seems like he's been part of the team all season. He can play. He's got the X-factor.

"Gareth Thomas looked every part a rugby league player. He's only five games into his career in league, but what a transition.

"Sometimes, it takes 12 or 18 months but it shows his rugby acumen and reinforces the fact all our clubs should look at rugby union."

Bradford Bulls coach Steve McNamara said:

"Everything went wrong. I thought Crusaders beat us in every department. It was a real non-performance from us. All across the park we were second best.

"We looked very down and low on energy. We did some very un-Bradford like things like not covering each other.

"The majority of the 17 players under-performed by quite a long way."

Bradford: Kearney, Sheriffe, Crookes, Nero, Halley, Sykes, Orford, Scruton, L'Estrange, Lynch, Whitehead, Donaldson, Menzies.
Replacements: Godwin, Worrincy, Hall, Kopczak.

Crusaders: Schifcofske, Thomas, Mellars, Hanbury, Youngquest, Witt, Lupton, O'Hara, Withers, Bryant, Hauraki, Chan, Trimarchi.
Replacements: Sammut, Peek, Thackray, Winternstein.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury)

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see also
Crusaders sign scrum-half Sammut
28 Apr 10 |  Crusaders
Bradford 40-4 Hull KR
25 Apr 10 |  Super League
Crusaders 10-38 Huddersfield
25 Apr 10 |  Super League
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League

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