Bradford Bulls 12-30 Leeds Rhinos: Player ratings and major talking points

Once upon a time Super League’s biggest fixture especially when both sides were at their best from 2003-05, it was fantastic to see the ‘Big One’ – as it was marketed – return to Odsal as both sides took important steps forward in their pre-season preparation.

Complete with the traditional biff of a Bradford-Leeds derby – Muizz Mustapha should find playing for then Bulls on loan interesting this season after being yellow carded and booed at the break – both Richard Agar and John Kear will be more focused on what they learnt from their sides in a brilliant afternoon of entertaining rugby with both sides showing the assets they’ll carry into the new season.

1. Bradford pack impresses

Traditionally, Bradford’s pack has been their strongest asset. At their peak, the Bulls boasted the best pack in the league with the likes of Stuart Fielden, Jamie Peacock and Paul Anderson leading the way. It seems any success they achieve in 2022 will be built on similar foundations if the first 40 minutes of this game is anything to go by. The Bulls middle men bullied their Super League counterparts in the first 40 with Steve Crossley and Ant Walker catching the eye. That dominance down the middle coupled with some outstanding goal line defence led to Bradford’s 12-0 halftime advantage.

2. Vital minutes for returning stars

One of the main aims of Agar going into the game was to get some solid minutes into the legs of Liam Sutcliffe – who captained the side this afternoon – and Jack Walker after long term injuries. It was especially key that Walker get game time after 15 months on the sidelines. Today, especially after the break, he shone with great energy and a killer step which led to Max Simpson’s fantastic first try. Meanwhile, Liam Sutcliffe showed good leadership out of position in the halves alongside young Jack Sinfield who notched a delightful assist.

3. Game of two halves

It’s common to see Super League teams dominate first halves of friendlies before taking off their star players giving their Championship opposition the chance to battle back. Today was perhaps the opposite of that. The Bulls bossed the first half with Kieran Gill catching the eye as Bradford built dominance on solid forward play and outstanding defence. But in the second stanza, Leeds played the game at a quicker pace especially around the ruck. This led to two fantastic tries at the start of the half which set the tone for a dominant second 40 which would have pleased both Agar and the youngsters who got gradually more involved in the contest.

Bradford

1 Elliot Kear – 6
2 Matty Dawson-Jones – 6
3 Ryan Evans – 7
4 Kieran Gill – 8
19 David Foggin-Johnson – 6
20 Billy Jowitt- 7
6 Dec Patton – 7
8 Ant Walker – 8
14 George Flanagan – 7
10 Steve Crossley – 8
11 Aaron Murphy – 6
12 Sam Scott – 7
15 Jordan Baldwinson – 7
Substitutes
16 Ebon Scurr – 6
22 Joe Burton – 6
23 Bradley Ho – 6
24 Aj Wallace – 6
27 Eldon Myers – 6
Sam Arundel – 6
Lewis Camden – 6
Ryan Forshaw – 6
Taylor Mail – 6
Coby Nichol – 6

Leeds

1 Jack Walker – 8
30 Levi Edwards – 6
23 Jack Broadbent – 7
28 Max Simpson – 8
29 Liam Tindall – 7
4 Liam Sutcliffe – 7
32 Jack Sinfield – 7
22 Sam Walters – 6
26 Corey Johnson – 7
27 Muizz Mustapha – 7
15 Alex Mellor – 8
12 Rhyse Martin – 8
24 Jarrod O’Connor – 8
Substitutes
5 Alfie Edgell – 7
14 McKenzie Turner – 6
16 Kai Morgan – 7
17 Joe Hird – 6
18 Joe Gibbons – 6
19 Bodene Thompson – 6
31 Oli Field – 6

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