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Super League: Catalan Dragons snatch victory from Bradford Bulls in dramatic finale at Odsal
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A converted try from former Bradford player Elliott Whitehead three minutes from time helped Catalan Dragons claim a dramatic 32-30 comeback victory over the Bulls.
Catalan coach Laurent Frayssinous, fresh from signing a new two-year deal, saw his side fight back from 16-6 and 24-12 behind to complete a Super League double over the relegation-doomed Bulls and strengthen their grip on a play-off place.
The sides shared five tries apiece but Sam Williams' peerless kicking display - six goals from six attempts - ultimately decided the issue in the French side's favour.
Catalan have now just one defeat - an agonising last-gasp single point loss at Leeds - in their last seven games whilst second-bottom Bradford have not won in their last five.
In front of Odsal's lowest Super League crowd of the season, just 5,188, the Bulls took the lead after swift handling from Luke Gale and Lee Gaskell enabled Tom Olbison to crash over.
Gale landed the first of his five goals but the Catalans were level within six minutes as Zeb Taia broke clear down the left and Dragons try-machine Morgan Escare was on hand to go behind the posts for his 17th Super League try of the season.
Williams converted and Escare almost grabbed a second try in support of a wonderful 70-metre dart down the touchline from Daryl Millard but lost control under pressure from Danny Williams as he attempted to ground the ball.
Adam Henry put the Bulls back in front after debutant Danny Williams – on loan from Salford – made an incisive break from deep in his own half and the Kiwi centre completed the try with a thrilling 50-metre diagonal dash.
Gale missed the conversion but the home side went further ahead within minutes as, helped up field by a penalty for a high shot, Adam O'Brien fed ex-Dragon Jamal Fakir, who barged his way through a host of former team-mates to score.
But the French outfit assured that they were very much back in the game at half-time when Sam Williams sent Vincent Duport skipping past full-back Brett Kearney to score on his 150th career appearance.
Gale edged Bradford 18-12 clear at the break with a penalty and within two minutes of the restart the Bulls had doubled their lead with Millard unable to field a high kick from Gale kick, who pounced on the loose ball to touch down.
The Dragons were then forced to desperately defend numerous successive sets as errors and penalties against them mounted but they hit back through Ben Pomeroy, who finished off a powerful charge from former Bulls star Whitehead.
It was now Bradford's turn to defend and pressure told when Julian Bousquet forced his way over from close range and Sam Williams' conversion tied the scores.
Escare thought he had put Catalan in front with a 60-metre break but referee George Stokes called play back into the Dragons half after advice from his touch-judge.
But the Bulls conceded a penalty near the posts with 13 minutes remaining and Sam Williams accepted the offer to kick the Dragons ahead for the first time.
The Bulls response was immediate as Gale burst clear and under the posts before converting his own try.
However, the Dragons had the final say as Whitehead, who emerged via the Bradford academy before moving to France, scored after the Bulls defence failed to deal with a towering Escare kick and a sixth Sam Williams conversion ensured the visitors walked away with both points.Super League. Click here to bet.
Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||22||20|
|11||Salford Red Devils||22||17|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||22||4|
|Thursday 31st July|
|20:00||Wigan vs Salford|
|Friday 1st August|
|20:00||Hull vs St Helens|
|20:00||Catalan Dragons vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Bradford|
|Sunday 3rd August|
|15:00||Widnes vs Hull K R|
|15:00||Wakefield vs Huddersfield|
|15:30||Castleford vs London Broncos|
|Thursday 14th August|
|20:00||Hull K R vs Wigan|
|Friday 15th August|
|20:00||Salford vs Catalan Dragons|
|20:00||Warrington vs Castleford|
|Sunday 27th July|
|Huddersfield 38 - 16 Catalan Dragons|
|Bradford 16 - 8 Wigan|
|Warrington 26 - 40 Wakefield|
|Saturday 26th July|
|London Broncos 10 - 62 Hull K R|
|Friday 25th July|
|Salford 18 - 22 Leeds|
|St Helens 44 - 22 Widnes|
|Thursday 24th July|
|Hull 18 - 18 Castleford|
|Sunday 20th July|
|Hull K R 18 - 38 Salford|
|Huddersfield 52 - 26 Bradford|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Catalan Dragons 40 - 6 Wakefield|
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