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Witt magic shocks Bulls
Witt stars as Crusaders shock in-form Bradford at Murrayfield
Michael Witt's wizardry helped the Crusaders shock in-form Bradford in the opening match of the Engage Super League Magic Weekend.
The stand-off ran in two first-half tries and kicked three goals and a conversion as the Welsh side beat the Bulls 19-0 at Murrayfield.
His 15 point haul - combined with a late try from impressive debutant Jarrod Sammut - ended in-form Bradford's six-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Coach Brian Noble masterminded the victory over his former club as the Wrexham-based Crusaders registered their fifth win of the campaign.
The Welsh side's determined defence also had a big say in proceedings as Bradford were 'nilled' for the first time in four years.
Cheered on by a healthy following at a ground less than half full, the Bulls started well with Paul Sykes and Chris Nero making good breaks.
But the Crusaders held firm and Vince Mellars had an opportunity for the Welsh side but was unable to take a high kick, while Witt went close to gathering his own clever chip for a try.
Rugby union legend Gareth Thomas then pegged the Bulls back with a good break from deep.
The Bulls recovered but were stung by the former Wales captain again as he set off on a charge after he had plucked a Matt Orford kick out of the air close to his own line.
The veteran - on the ground where he once won a Grand Slam and the Heineken Cup - raced 70 metres before eventually being caught but Nick Youngquest took up the attack and sent Witt over for the opener.
Sykes was twice denied as Bradford sought a reply before Witt further extended the Crusaders' lead after taking a pass from the newly-introduced Sammut to land a drop goal three minutes before the break.
He then notched his second try on the stroke of the interval after Mellars had claimed the half-back's kick and put him over for.
Former Penrith scrum-half Sammut then almost put Rhys Hanbury over with a smart pass but Craig Kopczak produced a fine tackle.
In a tight opening to the second period, the Crusaders were also strong in defence and continually rebuffed the Bulls.
Steve McNamara's side then suffered a blow just before the hour when the inspirational Orford was forced off following a heavy blow.
But a stroke of fortune presented Bradford with a way back into the game when a Steve Menzies kick bounced back infield and Rikki Sheriffe was able to kick further downfield.
Thomas then knocked on under pressure from Heath L'Estrange but the Bulls failed to take advantage as Kopczak dropped a pass 10 metres out.
Brett Kearney then gathered a Menzies offload to go over in the corner but video referee Stuart Cummings ruled he had lost possession before touching down.
It was a costly miss and Sammut put the game beyond the Bulls with a brilliant piece of play eight minutes from time.
The debutant did well to take a pass at the second attempt and then chased after his own kick.
He benefited from a kind bounce but broke through a tackle to crash over, with Witt adding his third conversion to put the seal on victory.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
|First Utility Super League|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalans Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalans Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalans 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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