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Super League: Bradford Bulls relegated by Huddersfield Giants
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Bradford’s relegation from Super League was confirmed on Sunday afternoon when they suffered a 52-26 defeat at the hands of Huddersfield.
The Bulls actually led 10-4 after the first quarter against their Yorkshire rivals but then found themselves trailing 26-16 at the John Smith’s Stadium, their cause not helped by conceding two tries in as many minutes before the break.
Bradford full-back Brett Kearney touched down straight after the re-start to close the gap to six, but winger Jermaine McGilvary went on to complete a hat-trick for the Giants, who return to winning ways after suffering back-to-back defeats at the start of July.
For their opponents, though, the outcome looks certain to consign them to the drop alongside London Broncos, meaning they will start next season outside the top tier for the first time in 40 years.
There is yet the possibility they could win back the six points they were docked for going into administration via High-Court action, but even then they would be still well adrift of safety and have already failed with one appeal.
At least the Bulls went down fighting - three times taking the lead in an error-strewn first half - before the Giants ran away with the game as the match wore on.
Former Huddersfield winger Luke George touched down twice in the opening 40 minutes, scrum-half Luke Gale creating his team-mate's opener and then also setting up another for hooker Adam O'Brien as Bradford were 16-10 ahead with 24 minutes gone.
However, Huddersfield - who had seen Jake Connor mark his home debut with a try before second rower Ukuma Ta'ai pounced on a blunder by Kearney - responded by scoring 16 points without reply before the interval.
After Leroy Cudjoe's long-range break created a score for scrum-half Luke Robinson, substitute Chris Bailey and McGillvary both crossed in a quick-fire double that gave the Giants a double-figure cushion.
Kearney benefited from a handling error to get a fourth try for Bradford early in the second half, though Jamie Foster's conversion rebounded off an upright to leave it at a six-point deficit.
Brett Ferres, who began his professional career at Bradford, forced his way over from close range and there was no way back for the Bulls when another of their former players, centre Joe Wardle, stole the ball in a one-on-one tackle from George to sprint 70 metres to the line.
As the Bulls wilted, McGillvary touched down twice in eight minutes to complete his hat-trick and Ta'ai helped himself to a second, with Cudjoe taking his goal tally to six from 10 attempts.
Kearney grabbed a consolation effort - his second of the afternoon - in the closing minutes but there was little for the beleagured Bulls to celebrate.
They must now prepare themselves for life in the Championship under new head coach James Lowes, a fate that seemed a certainty once they were punished with a points deduction following their financial issues.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalan Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalan Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalan Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
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