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Bradford Bulls 12-26 Leeds Rhinos

Bradford (12) 12
Tries: Whitehead, Platt Goals: Sykes 2

Leeds (14) 26
Tries: McGuire 3, Senior, Delaney Goals: Sinfield 3


Danny McGuire
McGuire's finishing proved decisive for Leeds

Scrum-half Danny McGuire ran in a hat-trick as Leeds saw off Bradford Bulls in the West Yorkshire derby at Odsal.

After being stung by an early Elliott Whitehead try, Leeds responded through McGuire before Michael Platt's effort kept the Bulls in the game.

But Leeds roared back with McGuire and Keith Senior crossing before the break and the Rhinos dominated after that,

Brett Delaney's early second-half try was followed by the clincher from McGuire for his hat-trick on the hour.

McGuire' illustrated Leeds' clinical finishing, in stark contrast to the Bulls' inability to take their chances in slipping to only their second defeat in eight matches.

The Bulls performed splendidly in the absence of key overseas pair Matt Orford and Brett Kearney, with Sykes and Heath L'Estrange doing well as a makeshift half-back pair.

But Leeds had the edge in McGuire and skipper Kevin Sinfield, who laid the platform for another performance which provided further evidence that the champions are getting close to their best after their disappointing, injury-clouded first half of the season.

Leeds were still weakened by with the loss of full-back Brent Webb through suspension.

Lee Smith, who scored two tries from the wing to secure a 20-20 draw between the sides at Headingley at Easter, was never comfortable in his full-back role and his hesitancy resulted in the opening try.

Whitehead capitalised on Smith's failure to clear the danger caused by Sykes' grubber kick, stretching out to get the touchdown inches from the dead-ball line.

Defences were always likely to be stretched in the energy-sapping conditions and the Leeds tryline lived a charmed life for much of the first half.

But they demonstrated superior finishing, McGuire finishing off a break by returning winger Scott Donald to score one try before collecting Sinfield's kick on the run for a second.

When winger Ryan Hall plucked the ball out of the air and sent his centre Senior over for a third try, the visitors held a flattering 14-10 lead.

Bradford, who gave a Super League debut to 19-year-old Danny Addy, pulled two points back just before the interval with a Sykes penalty. But a handling error by winger Rikki Sheriffe allowed Delaney to score within two minutes of the restart.

And, after one chalked off, McGuire completed the scoring (and his hat-trick) with the 195th try of his career, taking a smart offload from Greg Eastwood on halfway before outpacing the cover.

On the injury front, Leeds prop Kylie Leuluai went off after only 13 minutes after coming off worse from a Sykes tackle and, although able to return late on, Ian Kirke, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Luke Burgess did not play any part of the second half.


Leeds coach Brian McClennan said:

"Danny McGuire's anticipation of opportunities is very good. He's world class. He jumped onto opportunities extremely well.

"He's organising very well for us too. I thought his and Kevin Sinfield's kicking game in the second half was very astute.

"It was very hot out there and given we only had one sub for the whole second half, it was a terrific effort.

"The second half was the best we've played this season. We held strong defensively to keep them scoreless and our kick-chase was pretty good."

Bradford Bulls coach Steve McNamara said:

"It was a game of missed opportunities. We created the chances, we just had to put the ball down and it would have been a different ball game.

"Every time we missed one, Leeds seemed to go to the other end and score.

"It was a superb effort but it's important to be on the front foot in those conditions. I don't think mentally we dealt with being behind on the scoreboard at half-time."


Bradford: Halley, Sheriffe, Platt, Nero, Reardon, Sykes, L'Estrange, Scruton, Godwin, Lynch, Whitehead, Donaldson, Menzies.
Replacements: Addy, Hall, Worrincy, Kopczak.

Leeds: Smith, Donald, Delaney, Senior, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Buderus, Bailey, Ablett, Kirke, Jones-Buchanan.
Replacements: Eastwood, Pitts, Diskin, Burgess.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury).

Attendance: 13,269.



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