Saturday 16th February 2013, 16:45 - Round:3
|Brett Kearney 3, Adam Sidlow, Matty Blythe, Chev Walker,||T||Jamie Ellis, Kirk Dixon,|
Jamie Foster 7,
Jamie Ellis 2,
Attendance: 7,724 Official: S Ganson Venue: Provident Stadium, Odsal
A Brett Kearney hat-trick helped Bradford Bulls claim their second Super League win of the season with a hard-fought 38-12 victory over a Castleford Tigers side that was reduced to 11 men at one stage.
The hosts held a 20-12 advantage when Justin Carney and Jamie Ellis were both sin-binned in quick succession for the visitors, allowing the Bulls to capitalise and extend their recent domination over their west Yorkshire neighbours at Odsal.
The Bulls have lost only twice in 18 games between the two since the inception of the Super League but, for much of this tough encounter, Castleford showed the resilience that had earned them a shock 14-12 triumph over champions Leeds Rhinos last week.
Former Tigers favourite Michael Platt failed a late fitness test on a knee injury sustained in last week's defeat at Hull FC, forcing the Bulls into changing their 17-man squad for the first time this season - Jobe Murphy stepping up from the academy to make his first Super league appearance off the bench.
Gareth O'Brien, signed on a month’s loan from Warrington Wolves in midweek, made his Tigers debut in place of suspended England international half-back Rangi Chase, but it was short-lived as he was clattered to the ground by Nick Scruton and had to be helped from the field after barely four minutes.
It was a tense first half but both sides had their chances in the opening exchanges.
Only a marvellous chase back and tackle from Bulls’ Matt Diskin prevented Jake Webster opening the scoring for Castleford after a flowing move down their left flank.
Jarrod Sammut then should have touched down for the home side, following up and hacking on his own kick but being unable to re-gather properly as the ball bounced up in-goal.
The Bulls finally went ahead after a Kearney bomb, not dealt with by the Tigers' defence, was retrieved by Elliott Kear - who sent the following-up Kearney over.
Cas levelled through Ellis, who crossed next to the upright following a Jordan Thompson break, in the wake of the Bulls conceding three consecutive penalties in their own 20-metre zone.
Things immediately got worse for the hosts as Danny Addy, making his first start of the season, was shown a yellow card for persistent offending, as the Bulls conceded a fourth penalty on the trot.
But it was the 12 men of Bradford who struck next with winter signing from Salford City Reds Adam Sidlow crashing over for his second try in a Bulls shirt.
Another close-season acquisition, Jamie Foster, added his second conversion to give Bradford a 12-6 interval advantage.
But, within three minutes of the restart and with Addy back on the field, the Tigers drew level once more. Carney and Grant Millington split the defence and Adam Milner kicked ahead for Kirk Dixon to claim and run behind the posts.
Ellis landed a second conversion but the Bulls responded when some rapid interchanging and a deft final offload from Kearney created the space for Matty Blythe to touch down.
Foster slotted the goal, then added a penalty just before the hour to extend the Bulls’ advantage to eight points.
Diskin was then denied a try by video referee Richard Silverwood before Cas were themselves reduced to 12 men by the sin-binning of winger Carney for a professional foul, after a holding-down offence on a breaking Elliott Whitehead.
The visitors, now desperately defending, continued to offend and the further sin-binning of Ellis saw them down to just 11 men.
Predictably, the home side pressed home their two-man advantage and Chev Walker went between the posts with seven minutes remaining to all but seal the league points.
Kearney finally ran in his second and hat-trick scores in the final three minutes, Foster taking his tally to seven goals from as many attempts.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals