Sheffield Eagles v Bradford Bulls
Friday 15th February 2019, 19:45pm
Championship - Round: 3
Stats over last 8 encounters
Sheffield Eagles went to the top of the Championship table on Friday night courtesy of a 24-10 victory over Bradford Bulls at the Olympic Legacy Park.
In front of a bumper crowd, the Eagles bounced back from 10-0 down to keep the Bulls scoreless in the second half and claim a third straight victory.
The Eagles’ cause was helped by a red card to Bulls prop James Green and after James Glover gave Sheffield their first lead on the hour, the hosts went from strength to strength.
Mark Aston made two changes from the win over Barrow as Greg Burns and Blake Broadbent replaced James Davey and Shaun Pick.
The first clear cut chance of the game was taken by Bradford as Ethan Ryan played an inside pass to centre Ross Oakes who had a walk-in on 12 minutes.
Jordan Lilley was unable to convert.
Things went from bad to worse for the Eagles soon after as the visitors extended their advantage, with the provider turning scorer. Ryan added the finishing touch before Lilley tagged on the extras.
The Eagles came alive with some smart plays from dummy-half while rolling Bradford down the middle.
They got their reward in the 26th minute as Josh Guzdek cut through the defence to get the hosts on the board. Pat Walker converted for 6-10, the half-time score.
However, there was some tough defending on show from both sides in what was a fast-paced first 40 minutes.
There seemed to be no bad blood between the teams until the early stages of the second period when Green was sent off for an elbow on Ben Blackmore, who saw yellow for the following melee.
Neither team added points on to the board in the ten minutes where both were down to 12 but when Blackmore returned to the fray, the game changed.
Some strong running from the winger, especially out of dummy-half, got Sheffield on the front foot on many an occasion.
But it was the other winger, Ryan Millar, who was key to the breakthrough in the final quarter.
A superb 70 metre break from the speedster had Bradford at sixes and sevens, Glover popped up at hooker and did the rest. Walker’s conversion put Sheffield 12-10 up.
Brad Knowles, playing with a cracked rib, was next over the whitewash to the delight of the home crowd. He powered over 12 minutes from time and with Walker’s extras, Sheffield had a two-score lead.
Bradford half-back Lilley ended the game in the Kinspeed sin-bin as frustration set in for the visitors.
To rub salt into the West Yorkshire wounds, the following set saw Joel Farrell burst over to seal the victory and Sheffield’s return to the Championship peak.
By Dan Fowler