Bradford Bulls 30 Sheffield Eagles 10
Sheffield Eagles’ faint hopes of a top five place were ended after a 30-10 defeat at Bradford Bulls.
The home side signed off their final ever game at Odsal with a win in front of a bumper crowd to leapfrog Mark Aston’s side in the Championship table, with a much-changed Eagles’ five match winning run in all competitions also coming to a premature halt.
Aston made six changes to last weekend’s Wembley winning side, with opportunities handed to the likes of Rory Dixon, Sonny Esslemont, James Thornton and Lewis Taylor.
But it was the hosts who began the brightest when a moment of brilliance from Joe Keyes saw the half-back dance his way through four Eagles defenders before crossing the line, and he duly converted his own score.
Aston’s side quickly responded when Anthony Thackeray’s well-weighted grubber was almost seized upon by Josh Guzdek, but Brandon Pickersgill’s late intervention denied the visitors a try.
The Eagles though were not to be denied moments later. After Greg Burns was held over the line, on the next play Pat Walker’s kick on the last was gathered by Joel Farrell who dived over. Walker missed the extras.
On 28 minutes the Eagles were punished for conceding three consecutive penalties, and the hosts used the field position to great effect as veteran Jake Webster successfully dived over for a converted score.
It was a feisty end to the half which culminated in Bradford’s Connor Farrell seeing yellow for dissent.
The Eagles bagged the next try after the interval after a great offload in the tackle by Menzie Yere to Aaron Brown. Last weekend’s Wembley hero then found the support run of James Meadows who waltzed to the line for a converted score.
Any further momentum was then quickly put down as Ross Peltier crashed over from close range, despite suspicions of a forward pass in the build up. Keyes converted.
Just past the hour the lead was extended further when quick hands sent the ball wide for Ethan Ryan to touch down in the corner for an unconverted try.
The fiery nature continued with the Eagles next to drop down to 12 as Farrell was sinbinned, and the Bulls struck again straight away through Pickersgill’s unconverted try in the corner.
The gloss was added late on as Bradford’s Rhys Evans bagged the final try at the famous old stadium.
Bradford: Pickersgill; Hitchcox, Webster, Oakes, Ryan; Keyes, Lilley; Green, Hallas, Crossley; Storton, Farrell; Minchella. Interchange: Wood, Evans, Wildie, Peltier.
Scorers: Tries: Keyes (14), Webster (28), Peltier (52), Ryan (61), Pickersgill (65), Evans (75) Goals: Keyes 3/6
Eagles: Makelim; Millar, Hellewell, Guzdek, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; Dixon, G. Burns, Broadbent; Esslemont, Farrell; Brown. Interchange: Meadows, Thornton, Yere, Taylor.
Scorers: Tries: Farrell (19), Meadows (49) Goals: Walker 1/2