Bradford Bulls put on a sensational display of power and skill as they overwhelmed Whitehaven RLFC in a thrilling encounter at the LEL Arena yesterday. The Bulls roared back from an early deficit to secure a resounding 44-18 victory, leaving the battling Whitehaven outfit in their wake.
The game started with a burst of energy from Whitehaven, as Connor Holiday opened the scoring in the early stages. However, the Bulls’ response was swift, with James Segeyaro breaking away only to be denied due to a mistake from Bradford. Seizing the opportunity, Whitehaven’s Lee Gaskell took advantage of a gap in the defence and barged through for a try.
Undeterred, Whitehaven extended their lead when Lucas Castle managed to offload to Dion Ayre, who crossed under the posts. The visitors seemed to have the upper hand, but Bradford quickly regained their composure and applied pressure of their own. A fast-flowing move led to Jorge Taufua breaking down the left-hand side, resulting in a penalty and a six again for the Bulls. James Segeyaro seized the opportunity, scoring his first try for Bradford and narrowing the gap to 12-6.
In a game riddled with disallowed tries, Ben Blackmore fell victim to a forward pass ruling, while Whitehaven capitalized on a penalty to extend their lead with a try from Ryan King. However, Bradford staged a remarkable comeback, starting with Blackmore crossing in the corner following a well-placed pass by stand-in full-back Jordan Lilley, who replaced the injured Connor Wynne.
Ebon Scurr seemed to have scored for Bradford, but his try was disallowed late in the first half, marking the fourth disallowed try for the Bulls. Despite trailing 18-10 at halftime, Bradford came out firing in the second half. Dan Okoro powered his way through the Whitehaven defence after a penalty, and Keven Appo charged at the line to level the scores. Dec Patton converted the resulting penalty, bringing the game to an exciting deadlock.
The turning point came with the converted penalty as Bradford intensified their attack against a fatigued Whitehaven side. In a display of skill and teamwork, Jordan Lilley broke through the middle, allowing Kieran Gill to score his 19th try of the season. The Bulls seized the momentum, and on the following set, Masi Matongo crashed over the try line after a swift move orchestrated by Segeyaro.
The onslaught continued as Chester Butler and AJ Wallace added to the Bulls’ tally with two more scintillating tries. Wallace’s score was particularly awe-inspiring, showcasing his determination as he pounced on a bouncing ball from Lee Gaskell’s clever kick. The four consecutive tries put Bradford firmly in control, leaving the scores at 18-38.
The final highlight came from the outstanding Dec Patton, who capped off a remarkable performance with a solo try, leaving the Whitehaven defence in his wake. After a disappointing first half, Lee Greenwood’s men displayed their true potential with a ruthless and dominant second-half display, scoring an incredible 34 unanswered points.
With this resounding victory, the Bradford Bulls now sit just one point outside the top four, signalling their intent to challenge the league’s elite teams. Their incredible comeback and relentless attacking prowess will undoubtedly send shockwaves throughout the competition, leaving their rivals on high alert.