Bradford 48 Sheffield Eagles 16: Eagles unable to make up for poor start

Bradford v Eagles action. Photo: Simon Hall
Bradford v Eagles action. Photo: Simon Hall

Sheffield Sheffield Eagles couldn’t maintain their recent winning streak after they were sent crashing to a 48-16 defeat by Bradford Bulls at Odsal.

After a recent resurgence, the Eagles struggled to recover from a poor start before their leaky defence gave way in the final 10 minutes as the Bulls pushed their score close to the 50 point mark.

Director of rugby Mark Aston named an unchanged side, but the visitors found themselves on the back foot early in what turned into an afternoon to forget.

With just four minutes on the clock the Bulls profited from a mix-up between Ryan Millar and Garry Lo, as Ethan Ryan nipped in to collect Oscar Thomas’ high bomb to bag the first try.

Aston’s side showed little of their recent upturn in fortunes inside the first 10 minutes, when James Bentley dived over for the hosts, and Thomas added the extras.

The Eagles gradually worked their way into the game but wasted a great opportunity when Millar’s pass to Matty James was deemed forward.

Just before the half-hour mark the Eagles’ pressure was rewarded when they forced their way over the whitewash when Will Hope grounded after a brilliant pass by Matty Fozard. Simon Brown converted.

Just when it looked as though the Eagles were finding their feet, Menzie Yere saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on Johnny Campbell, and Ross Oakes extended the advantage stepping his way across the line. Thomas converted.

The task got even harder for the Eagles with Bentley’s second converted try before the interval, as the hosts started to pull away.

Any hopes of a fight-back were quickly dashed by Daniel Murray’s converted try, but with the odds against them Aston’s side gave themselves a glimmer when Ben Blackmore touched down in the corner, but Brown missed a tricky conversion.

The Eagles had further opportunities to narrow the gap with Brown throwing in a forward pass close to the line and Lo knocking on when within range.

With 20 minutes remaining the Eagles reduced the deficit when a slick move involving Jake Spedding and Blackmore ended with the latter crossing the line for his second try, and Brown nailed the conversion.

The visitors missed a great opportunity to give the game a grandstand finish as another knock on right on the Bradford line relieved the pressure

The hosts then cruised to victory with Bentley’s third and fourth converted try, before Campbell’s late converted score rubbed further salt into the wounds.

Bradford: Thomas; Caro, Oakes, Ryan, Campbell; Pryce, Lilley; Magrin, Moore, Murray; Larroyer, Bentley; Roche. Interchange: Kirk, Wilkinson, Davies, Keyes.

Scorers: Tries: Ryan (4), Bentley (8, 34, 73, 75), Oakes (30), Murray (42), Campbell (78) Goals: Thomas 8/8

Eagles: Millar; Lo, Yere, Spedding, Blackmore; Brown, Minchella; Wheeldon, Fozard, Mexico; James, Straugheir; Hope. Interchange: Burns, Trout, Scott, Johnson.

Scorers: Tries: Hope (29), Blackmore (48, 60) Goals: Brown 2/4

Referee: Liam Moore