Leeds Rhinos 24-10 Bradford Bulls: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

In the return of one of Super League’s biggest fixtures, Leeds Rhinos claimed their first win of pre-season in a terrific contest against Bradford Bulls.


Ruan continues to impress
In both Leeds’ pre-season fixtures prior to today, new signing from Doncaster Leon Ruan has been impressive even having an assist against Wakefield Trinity but today he got the opening try hitting a good line from Richie Myler’s ball to score.

Martin sent to the bin as Bradford mount pressure
Bradford were clearly happy to keep the ball alive and were stretching Leeds with Jack Walker especially impressive. They mounted pressure and eventually forced Rhyse Martin to take out one of their attacking player resulting in a sin bin. Sadly the Bulls knocked on straight after that.

Walker helps Arundel walk through
Jack Walker was shinning at his old stomping ground. A constant threat out the back he popped up down the right to put Joe Arundel through a gap for the Bulls to get a deserved try.

Smith shows his value
Straight after that, Leeds won the ball back in an attacking position from a short kick off. After a rampant run by Sam Lisone, Cameron Smith showed what he can bring to the number 13 shirt at Leeds in his first minutes of the season when his flat ball allowed Sam Walters to turn in the tackle and offload to allow Morgan Gannon to stroll over. With Marin in the bin, Smith went on to convert and make it 12-4.

Wallace waltzes through but forward pass denies Bulls
A lovely short ball saw Leeds academy product AJ Wallace tear through he then tried to fend off Ash Handley at fullback. As Handley held on Wallace offloaded for what seemed like a lovely try but the pass was ruled forward.

Try of the game extends Leeds lead
After a similar opening down the right a few minutes earlier, the ball found its way out to Joe Gibbons and the young man staked a claim for a first team spot when he tore through and found Ash Handley in support. He then tipped it on to Myler to make it 18-4 on the stroke of halftime.

Tindall denied early second half try
Leeds nearly started the second half with a try when a lovely kick was taken by Liam Tindall but the Bulls managed to get underneath the ball.

Deserved try for Gibbons
Young Mr Gibbons again showed his class when he went from provider to try scorer as he took a drop off from Jack Sinfield to score. Joe is the son of former Leeds player David who worked as assistant coach for the Rhinos’ women’s team until recently. A nice moment to see two sons of ex-Leeds players link up for a try.

Fast forwarding to the future
For the first time two exciting stars of the future were in each other’s cross hairs as a lovely Sinfield kick was taken by Huddersfield Giants bound George Flanagan Jr. He jinked and weaved his way through only to be hit by a brilliant tackle by Sinfield. As the years tick by expect these two to meet more and more.

Bulls score erratic try
The Bulls built some pressure on the Leeds line by forcing a goal line drop out and as they attacked the ball hit a player or two and landed in the hands of George Flanagan Sr to score.

Tindall the try saver
A brilliant break down the left from the Bulls looked set to yield points until Liam Tindall tracked back and dragged down Gill.

Talking Points:

Bulls play attacking rugby
Mark Dunning has spoken a lot about style this pre-season and the Bulls were playing a fantastic style today. They played from edge to edge with set pattern plays taking Leeds to the touchline over and over again. Jack Walker was central to it.

Smith continues to experiment
Rohan Smith said last season that for him experimentation never stops as he tries to get the most out of his side again and again. His latest experiments showed their value in the first half as a short kick off led to Morgan Gannon, an experiment in the halves, to cross.

Walker shows he means business
A former star of the Leeds Rhinos and Super League’s youngest ever Champion, Jack Walker has moved to Bradford after being ravaged by injury in recent years. He was exceptional out the back looking like a running threat but having the skills to create chances for others. If he stays fit, he will excel in the Championship and could be back in Super League before long either in a Bulls shirt or someone else’s.

The Handley fullback question
Ash Handley has now started three pre-season games at fullback for Leeds. He looked at home in the position today and offered a running threat as Myler did well in the halves and created some openings for his teammates. It begs the question: will Handley start at fullback against Warrington Wolves in Round One.

Youngsters shine in the second half
In the second half both teams turned to youngsters and both sides had impressive youngsters on the field. Fullbacks Edgell and Flanagan especially impressed.

Player Ratings:

Leeds Rhinos
5 Ash Handley – 8
24 Luis Roberts – 7
11 Levi Edwards – 6
12 Rhyse Martin – 6
23 Liam Tindall – 7
20 Morgan Gannon – 7
1 Richie Myler – 7
15 Sam Lisone – 7
14 Jarrod O’Connor – 7
22 Sam Walters – 8
4 Leon Ruan – 8
19 James McDonnell – 7
13 Cameron Smith – 7
18 Tom Holroyd – 8
17 Tom Nicholson-Watton – 7
25 James Donaldson – 7
8 Joe Gibbons – 8
26 Alfie Edgell – 8
3 Riley Lumb – 6
10 Oli Field – 6
29 Jack Sinfield – 7
9 Bailey Aldridge – 6
7 Kai Morgan – 6

Bradford Bulls
31 Jack Walker – 8
2 Ben Blackmore – 6
3 Joe Arundel – 7
4 Kieran Gill – 8
5 David Foggin-Johnston – 7
1 Tom Holmes – 7
6 Dec Patton – 7
21 Fenton Rogers – 7
7 Jordan Lilley – 7
10 Brad Foster – 7
13 Bodene Thompson – 7
15 AJ Wallace – 8
12 Chester Butler – 7
26 George Flanagan Jr – 8
30 Jayde Myers – 6
32 Marcus Green – 6
25 Myles Lawford – 6
9 George Flanagan Sr – 7
19 Max Clark – 6
22 George Roby – 6
Josh Johnson – 7
Jaden Barraclough – 7

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