Sheffield 24 Bradford 10: Eagles stun Bulls to continue excellent start to season
Sheffield Eagles made it three wins from three after a 24-10 victory over 12-man Bradford Bulls.
A tight contest swung in the direction of the home side when Bradford’s James Green saw red in the second half, with Mark Aston’s side eventually breaking down a resolute Bulls’ defence to maintain their impressive start to the campaign.
The new-look Eagles outfit had to be patient against their full-time opponents, but three tries in the last 15 minutes sealed another win for the hosts.
With both teams arriving defending a 100% record, something had to give under the OLP lights. The Eagles set off with purpose, with Bradford forced to defend their line with gusto during the opening minutes.
After soaking up an early storm, the Bulls showed their class with the opening try. Ethan Ryan was sharp to switch a pass inside close to the touchline, allowing Ross Oakes to scuttle over. Jordan Lilley missed the extras.
Three minutes later an incisive break from Rowan Milnes was finished by Ryan for Bradford’s second score, this time converted by Lilley.
The Eagles retained their composure and were unfortunate when Pat Walker’s grubber was just too heavy for the run of Farrell.
Aston’s side were soon on the board when Josh Guzdek displayed strength and persistence to squeeze through the tackles to score, with Walker converting.
There were further opportunities for the hosts, but Jason Crookes spilled when heading for the corner.
The game took a twist in the Eagles’ favour when Green was sent off following a scuffle, whilst Ben Blackmore saw yellow.
The hosts piled forward but were left frustrated by a resolute Bulls, after two prolonged spells camped on the visitors’ line.
The Bradford defence was eventually breached with 15 minutes remaining when a barnstorming 70 metre break from Ryan Millar laid the platform for James Glover to storm over at the next play. Walker converted.
The Eagles gave themselves breathing space when Matty James broke downfield to give the hosts prime position, and Brad Knowles eventually burrowed over for a converted score.
The points were sealed when Lilley saw yellow for descent, and Farrell capitalised bagging a third converted try late on.
Eagles: Guzdek; Millar, Glover, Crookes, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; James, G. Burns, Knowles; Farrell, Davies; Brown. Interchange: Makelim, Broadbent, Esslemont, P. Burns.
Scorers: Tries: Guzdek (26), Glover (66), Knowles (71), Farrell (77) Goals: Walker 4/4
Bradford: Pickersgill; Hitchcox, Evans, Oakes, Ryan; Milnes, Lilley; Kirk, Wildie, Crossley; Farrell, Minchella; Magrin. Interchange: Flanagan, Green, Garside, Krasniqi
Scorers: Tries: Oakes (12), Ryan (15) Goals: Lilley 1/2
Red Card: Green (49)
Referee: Marcus Griffiths