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Bradford 28-32 Leeds

Bradford (16) 28
Tries: Whitehead 3, Ah Van, Diskin Goals: Ah Van 4
Leeds (10) 32
Tries: Jones-Bishop 2, Hall 3 (1 pen), Leuluai, Burrow Goals: Sinfield 4

Leeds celebrate
Ben Jones-Bishop (second left) is congratulated after scoring Leeds' opening try in their Magic Weekend victory over Bradford in Cardiff

By Ged Scott
BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

Leeds snatched victory from neighbours Bradford in Cardiff as they got out of jail to win with a late penalty try.

Mick Potter's rebuilt Bradford looked set for a Magic Weekend derby win when Elliott Whitehead's hat-trick put them 28-10 up with just 20 minutes left.

But Leeds roared back with tries from Ben Jones-Bishop, his second of the day, Kylie Leuluai and Rob Burrow.

And, when Jones-Bishop was stopped by Gareth Raynor with the ball gone, Leeds were given a match-winning penalty try.

It was a sensational end to a stunning game which, in his first game in charge, Potter's Bradford appeared to have wrapped up.

But, instead, it was his opposite number Brian McDermott who began his Leeds reign with a win.

On a day when the Bulls gave debuts to nine new signings, McDermott had just one new face - prop Ben Cross - in his side.

And, although young winger Jones-Bishop played a key role with his two tries, the fact that Leeds had so many tried and trusted, experienced players in their line-up perhaps proved the telling factor.

Playing in their striking new, predominantly pink away strip, McDermott's men were first out of the blocks when Jones-Bishop - back from last season's loan with Harlequins - struck just five minutes into his first Super League start for Leeds since April 2009.

But Whitehead, one of only five Bulls players in Sunday's line-up who also began last season's final league fixture at champions Wigan, then ran in two tries in seven minutes.

And when the Bulls' new goalkicking winger Patrick Ah Van also crossed, taking advantage of Leeds being down to 12 men, Bradford were 16-4 in front.

Leeds reduced the arrears to 16-10 by the break thanks to a try from Ryan Hall in the left corner, followed by a Kevin Sinfield penalty.

But Bradford then made a storming start to the second half, Diskin marking his debut with a try against the club he left last September, before Whitehead completed his hat-trick, again getting on the end of a Brett Kearney kick, which fell kindly for him.

At 28-10, it looked all over for Leeds, but, galvanised by two video decisions going their way on potential Bulls tries that would surely have killed the game, back they came.

Showing the spirit that brought them three Super League titles in a row, they struck three times in five minutes.

Jones-Bishop began the comeback and although Sinfield missed the conversion, he landed the next two when Leuluai just managed to ground the ball underneath the posts before the wily Burrow incredibly nipped in for another.

After such an astonishing turnaround, at 28-26, that left Leeds fully 11 minutes to complete their comeback.

But there were just two minutes left when Jones-Bishop hacked the ball inside from the right touchline, sensing a hat-trick.

Having booted it on again, he was tackled after the ball had gone by one of Bradford's debutants, opposing winger Raynor - an unhappy end to the former Hull and Crusaders man's first Super League game back following his release from prison.

After a lengthy delay, video referee Richard Silverwood - no friend to Leeds in the past - gave the penalty try and Sinfield kicked the goal to win the game for the Rhinos.


Leeds winger Ben Jones-Bishop:
"Once the full-back had slipped, I thought I was clean through to score.

"It took an awkward bounce and I had to kicked on through. I thought it was the right weight and that I would have got to it.

"So, yes, I thought it was the right decision."

Leeds coach Brian McDermott:
"I can't take the credit for that comeback. They're a tough group, who've been together for a while now.

"There were no magical words from me. They've simply got a lot of resilience.

"For all of our errors earlier, in terms of effort, it was great and you have to give Bradford a lot of credit. They did the basics very well and will be frustrated at not winning."

Bradford coach Mick Potter:
"They were the better team at the 80-minute mark and that's the only thing that counts.

"But I'm still very happy with the effort we put in.

"Defending takes a lot more energy than attacking and Leeds found some late in the game.

"They've got some experienced, quality players who are fast and have good skills. They've not won so many recent Grand finals for nothing."


Bradford: Royston, Ah Van, Platt, Walker, Raynor, Briggs, Kearney, Lynch, L'Estrange, Hargreaves, Elima, Whitehead, Langley.
Replacements: Diskin, Scruton, Kopczak, Sibbit.

Leeds: Webb, Jones-Bishop, Delaney, Senior, Hall, Sinfield, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Cross, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Ablett.
Replacements: Burgess, Kirke, Pitts, Watkins.

Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens)



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see also
Bradford season preview 2011
09 Feb 11 |  Bradford
Leeds season preview 2011
09 Feb 11 |  Leeds
Super League form guide 2011
09 Feb 11 |  My Club
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League


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