With the news that Gold Coast Titans assistant coach Rohan Smith will take over as Bradford coach, the Bulls will be hoping to enhance their top four credentials with a victory over a tricky Swinton Lions side.
Last Time Out
Bradford Bulls were on the receiving end of a 30-16 scoreline against London Broncos at Trailfinders Sports Ground. It was the West Yorkshire outfit who broke the deadlock through Danny Addy but the match was soon levelled up when Ben Hellewell notched an unconverted try. Bradford’s Kris Welham and London’s Rhys Williams exchanged tries during the first half as neither side could break away into a big lead. In the final stages of the first half, Welham completed his brace as the visitors went into the break with a 14-8 lead. Andy Ackers did cut into the deficit with the first try of the second half but, for a third time, the conversion was no good from William Barthau. The Frenchman did make amends by kicking a penalty goal to tie the game but Addy struck one of his own on 55 minutes to give his side the lead again. However, the final quarter, and therefore the match as a whole, belonged to the Broncos as they took charge. Ackers’ second try of the afternoon put London in front and things got worse for their opponents soon after that as Dale Ferguson was sent to the sin-bin. London capitalised in great fashion. Tries from Williams and James Cunningham put three scores between the teams and that was more than enough to see the spoils stay in the capital.
Swinton’s great form continued with a 32-26 triumph over Whitehaven at Heywood Road. It looked inevitable that Haven would return to Cumbria with a victory as they went into half-time 26-10 to the good but the Lions fought back valiantly. Jesse Joe Parker opened the scoring for Whitehaven before Ben White replied with a try of his own on seven minutes. The Cumbrians then scored three tries on the spin and really put the cat amongst the pigeons. Louis Jouffret, Jordan Burns and Parker all crossed the whitewash as Haven stretched into a 22-6 advantage. Macauley Hallett registered a try for Swinton in the first half but, quite rightly, Haven had the final say in the half as Connor Holliday added another try to his team’s collection. It must have come as quite the surprise for the travelling Whitehaven fans to see their team score no points in the second half as Swinton grabbed control of the game with four tries. Gabriel Fell started the comeback with a try before Hallett completed his double and the Lions were showing they meant business. Rhodri Lloyd’s try on the hour was converted and the hosts were in front for the first time in the match. Liam Marshall’s interception try from 90 metres out with four minutes to go sealed the win as John Duffy’s men shocked everyone, something they’ve been doing all season long.
Gabriel Fell has become a mainstay in a Swinton side who are currently loving life in the second tier. The dual-registered full-back from Wigan Warriors has grown in confidence as every game has passed and coach Duffy will be hoping to see the youngster progress into a star by the end of the regular season. For Bradford, temporary coach Matt Diskin decided to put three-quarter James Clare in at full-back for the game against London. Whether or not the former Castleford man stays there remains to be seen.
Even though the off-field matters have been resolved and the new coach has been announced, Bradford still have work to do on the field and they need to be on guard for the visit of Swinton this weekend. The Lions have been performing above and beyond expectation this year and they will be aiming to create another upset on Sunday – Bradford by 22