Hull FC show their mettle to beat Bradford Bulls 28-12 at the KC Stadium
Hull 28 Bradford 12
Hull muscled up in defence to get the better of Bradford at the KC Stadium and put their opening-night misery at Leeds behind them.
The Black and Whites showed their mettle, particularly in their own half, as they repelled a Bradford side on a high from their 40-point win over Wakefield last Sunday.
Time and again Peter Gentle’s men defended repeat sets and, with their own line a fortress, they attacked with confidence. When chances arose for them to score they took them.
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And, while Gentle was ruthless in his selection from the Leeds game – Brett Seymour was dropped and centre Joe Arundel was sent to play for York – their clinical on-field show was a lesson to Bradford who dominated possession at times but let themselves down with some questionable last-tackle plays.
This game was rerun of Friday’s aborted attempt, with the original fixture postponed following the unexpected closure of the M62. There were no problems in getting the game on today, though, and the home side appeared determined to make up for lost time, taking the lead just three minutes in.
Jason Crookes spent six years with Bradford in total and scored seven tries for them last season, but less than 180 seconds had passed today when he crossed against his former employers, taking in a pass from Ben Crooks after a left-to-right move.
Daniel Holdsworth duly tagged the extras and it should have been two tries in as many minutes after that, with Crookes shelling the ball with the line gaping after an impressive run from centre partner Crooks.
The ex-Bull was in the action again shortly after, narrowly failing to ground as Michael Platt bundled him out of play, although the latter paid for his bravery as he was forced off injured.
Bradford started to settle into the game after that and were it not for some dubious early-in-the-count kicking from Jarrod Sammut they could have scored themselves but, as it was, Hull were the next over the line after defending five straight, if unimaginative, sets.
There was a hint of farce about it when it came 23 minutes in, with Crookes hacking ahead thinking he was on the last tackle rather than the first but, fortunately for him, the ball reared up for Shannon McDonnell who showed great dexterity to score under pressure from Jamie Foster. Holdsworth goaled again.
The pattern was now set and Bradford consistently made inroads into Hull’s half before running out of last-tackle ideas, with Hull absorbing their pressure and then picking them off when they wanted – Tom Briscoe got their third try just after the break with a neat inside step off Kirk Yeaman’s offload.
Holdsworth’s miss was his first failure but the former Salford half-back was soon adding a four-pointer as he skipped through a tiring Bradford defence as the hour approached, with a routine conversion pushing Hull out to 22-0 in front.
The Bulls not had been as poor as that scoreline suggested and they got a score their pressure demanded with 18 minutes remaining, loan centre Matty Blythe cupping a pass from Elliott Whitehead and scoring in the corner and Foster converting, with some quick thinking from Sammut having teed the try up.
It was nothing more that temporary respite, though, as Jay Pitts quickly scored next to the posts after a fine arcing run from Richard Horne, with Holdsworth adding his fourth and final goal.
The last score would belong to the Bulls, however, with Brett Kearney bundling over shortly after Briscoe had denied Elliot Kear with a brilliant in-goal tackle.