Catalans humble Bulls
Catalans Dragons produced a stunning second half display to secure a 34-28 victory over Bradford.
Last Updated: 02/07/11 7:23pm
Catalans Dragons produced a stunning second half display to secure a 34-28 victory over Bradford at Odsal despite being reduced to 12 men.
The game looked like being remembered only for its tedium after a dire, error-strewn opening period saw the sides split by just two points at half time.
The Bulls looked to have been handed a huge advantage eight minutes after the restart when Catalans prop David Ferriol was sent off.
They were quickly able to open up a six point lead but the French outfit produced a stunning fightback to beat the Bulls in their own backyard despite the numerical superiority of their hosts.
Oliver Elima opened the Bulls' account after eight minutes, adding to his two tries in last week's victory over the Rhinos with a eighth minute score against his old club when he latched onto a short pass and blasted through to touch down.
Patrick Ah Van converted to give the hosts a 6-0 lead but Catalans replied five minutes later, when the ball was whipped wide from an attacking scrum 10 metres out and Clint Greenshields split the Bulls defence with a great dummy to charge over in the corner.
Scott Dureau was unable to hit the target from wide on the right, leaving the French outfit trailing by two.
The visitors took the lead on 23 minutes when, with Catalans again pressuring the Bulls line, Steve Menzies flicked out a delightful pass to put Damien Blanch clear for his fourth try in as many games.
Dureau missed again from an identical position to leave his side on 8-6, but five minutes before half time Ah Van put Bradford back on level terms with a penalty.
And three minutes later he slotted an easy effort from in front after Catalans were pinged under their sticks to make it 10-8 to the hosts at the break.
Catalans re-took the lead three minutes after the restart through Sebastien Raguin, the video referee confirming the try after a short wait but Dureau again failed to add the extras.
Five minutes later though, the visitors found themselves down to 12 men when Ferriol took out James Donaldson with a dangerous high tackle.
Danny Addy drove over for the Bulls minutes later but the TV official ruled that the Catalans defence had managed to get under the ball.
Tom Burgess made no mistake from the very next attack though, barging in under the posts of an increasingly ragged looking Catalans for his maiden Super League try and Ah Van booted his fifth kick of the game to take the scores to 18-12.
But something had awoken in Trent Robinson's men and on 56 minutes Ian Henderson picked up from the tackle and jinked his way through the Bulls defence to cross under the posts.
This time Dureau could not miss, and slotted home from right in front to level the scores up again at 18 apiece.
Brett Kearney saw a try disallowed just past the hour mark for a double movement and within minutes Catalans had stunned their hosts with a magnificent try on 62 minutes.
Menzies made good ground up the middle and drew in the Bulls defence before delivering a delightful offload to prop Lopini Paea.
Catalans streamed upfield, sending the Bulls rearguard scrambling back with some great interplay before Dureau collected the final offload and crossed under the posts.
The Bulls were stunned again five minutes later when Blanch sprinted half the length of the pitch for his second - a tremendous breakaway try after Catalans had turned over Bradford's possession. Dureau added the extras to take it to 30-18 and give the depleted Catalans a 12-point lead.
Ben Jeffries pulled four back with just six minutes to go and Ah Van remained on target with the conversion to put the Bulls back within six points.
But two minutes later Catalans hit back when Daryl Millard made a great break before feeding Greenshields who used his pace to accelerate away for the try.
Dureau missed the kick to leave the scores on 34-24 but with just two minutes to go there was already no way back for Bradford
With a minute to go Bradford winger Gareth Rayner chipped over the top and chased his kick down to touch the ball down for a consolation try
But it will provide little comfort for Bulls coach Mick Potter after his men failed miserably to push home the numerical advantage they held for much of the second half.