Championship newbies v Championship heavyweights. Oldham will have been dreaming of such a tie last year when they were fighting their way to the second tier from League 1. Bradford, on the other hand, were focusing on a place in Super League which eventually came to an halt when they lost in the Million Pound Game to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. Oldham lost their last match against Featherstone while Bradford were part of an enthralling game against Leigh Centurions at the Provident Stadium.
Last Time Out
Oldham were defeated 20-6 by Featherstone at the Big Fellas Stadium. The Roughyeds were in with a shout for quite a while, especially when you consider the hosts were only 10-6 up at the break. Misi Taulapapa and Anthony Thackeray scored the tries for Featherstone before Richard Lepori got Oldham rolling with his own four pointer. However, the Rovers just had too much for Oldham to deal with as Kyle Briggs and Danny Craven added a try apiece in the second half to seal the triumph.
In one of the most dramatic games in Championship history, Bradford Bulls came back from 32-6 down to draw 32-32 with Leigh Centurions at the Provident Stadium. The Bulls scored 26 points without reply in the final 15 minutes of the match to snatch a point away from their second tier rivals. The half-time score read 14-6 to the visitors after converted tries from Jonathan Pownall and Ryan Brierley, and a penalty goal from Lee Smith. Kris Welham scored Bradford’s lone try of the first half as the hosts flattered to deceive. They were outdone further at the start of the second half as Smith, Brierley and Reni Maitua all recorded tries to give the Centurions an unassailable lead. Or at least that’s what everyone thought, barring the Bulls of course! A quick James Clare double-salvo started the comeback and when Danny Addy and Adrian Purtell also scored four pointers, the lead was cut to just a slender six points. Then Omari Caro stepped up to score in the corner, but Addy was left with a tricky conversion to steal a point. A sweetly struck strike sailed in-between the posts and the Bulls had rescued a point when all seemed lost. A superb effort to say the least and they will take immense pride and confidence from their very late revival.
Lee Gaskell and Danny Addy have been the creative mainstays in the Bradford side since their relegation from Super League. Both Gaskell and Addy are very tricky customers and Oldham will be aiming to keep at least one of the two half-backs quiet on Sunday. Oldham fielded Lewis Palfrey and Danny Grimshaw in the halves against Featherstone last weekend. Grimshaw is an off-season signing made by coach Scott Naylor while Palfrey has been one of the most talented players at the Oldham club for a number of years now. It’ll be a good acid test for Oldham’s half-backs as they go up against Gaskell and Addy just a few weeks after facing off against Leigh Centurions.
Sunday is not about winning, as such, for Oldham. It’s about learning how to play the big teams for when the return leg comes around. After going up against Leigh Centurions a couple of weeks ago, the Roughyeds will have seen how the big hitters go about their business and now they have a chance to impress their home fans at Bower Fold. Bradford will come into the game after a very weird game against Leigh and the Bulls will be striving for more consistency at the weekend – Bradford by 26
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