Sunday 17th March 2013, 15:00 - Round:7
Hull Kingston Rovers
|Jamie Foster, Brett Kearney, Elliot Kear, John Bateman, Jarrod Sammut 2,||T||David Hodgson, Josh Hodgson,|
Jamie Foster 5,
Michael Dobson 2,
Attendance: 7,843 Official: B Thaler Venue: Provident Stadium, Odsal
Adrian Purtell celebrated his much-publicised comeback by helping injury-stretched Bradford Bulls extend their unbeaten run to three games with victory over Hull KR.
Purtell had not played since suffering a heart attack on the way home from the Magic Weekend defeat to Leeds Rhinos last May but, having been given the all-clear by specialists during the week, the 28-year-old Australian came off bench to rapturous applause after 24 minutes today.
At that stage the Bulls had already crossed twice to hold a narrow lead and went on to add three more first-half tries as error-strewn Rovers struggled to get into the game.
One of those tries was scored by teenage England Academy international John Bateman, who was also on the comeback trail having been out of Super League action since last August following a shoulder reconstruction.
The Bulls made light of being without Matty Blythe and Chev Walker (both ankle), Jamie Langley (groin) and Matt Diskin (illness) to end the Robins’ encouraging sequence of back-to-back wins which had lifted them into the play-off zone.
The victory takes the Bulls above arch rivals Leeds and alongside four other clubs tied for second place on nine points.
Bradford made a dream start when Jarrod Sammut and Keith Lulia created an overlap for Jamie Foster to cross near the corner flag after five minutes.
Four minutes later, following a mistake by Con Mika, Danny Addy’s high kick was patted back by Elliot Kear for Brett Kearney to continue a run of scoring in every game with his ninth try of the season.
Foster was unable to convert the two tries from wide out on either touchline.
The Robins hit back when David Hodgson, making his 350th career appearance latched onto a long Greg Eden pass to score his 158th Super League try, in doing so moving alongside Leon Pryce as the joint-fourth-highest tryscorer since the competition’s inception in 1996.
Rovers skipper Michael Dobson succeeded where Foster had twice failed to bring the visitors back to within two points of their hosts.
Purtell briefly stopped the game when he emerged from the dug-out to a standing ovation and barely two minutes later the home crowd were roused again when Kearney stabbed a grubber into the corner, which Kear successfully pounced on to score Bradford’s third try
Foster finally got his range and angle right to give the Bulls breathing space, before two more tries in as many minutes almost took them out of sight.
First another Addy kick bounced kindly for Bateman to collect and ground. Then Bateman helped create the next score, setting Lulia and Foster free down the wing for Sammut to take the final pass and touch down.
Foster took advantage of the kinder angles to convert both to send Bradford in 26-6 ahead at half-time.
Rovers rallied after the break, dominating as the Bulls conceded a stream of penalties.
Josh Hodgson, back from a recent suspension, dummied his way over with Dobson adding a second goal but determined home defence restricted any further damage.
Sammut then cut through on his own to claim his second try, and Foster took his tally to five goals with the conversion and a late penalty.
It was not all good news for Bradford, though, with James Donaldson and Lulia both suffering worrying knocks for the already-stretched Bulls.
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
Clean Breaks: 3