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Giants win Bradford battle
Giants stay clear of Wigan after muddy battle in Bradford
Huddersfield Giants remained in top spot of the Stobart Super League with a battling 20-6 victory over Bradford Bulls at Odsal.
The Giants showed why they are still the Super League pacesetters as they overcame both the abysmal conditions and being reduced to 12 men for 10 minutes in the second half to record their fourth straight league win and stay two points clear of Wigan.
The Bulls, who themselves had won four of their last six matches despite their well-documented financial problems, battled hard but were eventually overpowered by the league leaders.
Giants stand-off Danny Brough had an exceptional game as he continually pegged the Bulls back with a succession of fine positional kicks and finished with 12 of the Giants' 20 points through a try and four well-taken goals.
In what was always likely to be a dour arm-wrestle in awful conditions referee Thierry Alibert awarded an early penalty on the advice of his touch judge and Danny Addy stepped up to give Bulls a two-point lead from just to the right of the posts.
But the hosts' advantage was short-lived as Huddersfield hit back when Brough shimmied into space from midfield and placed a perfectly weighted kick for Jermaine McGillvary to race onto and score.
Brough failed with the touchline conversion but Larne Patrick went close to extending the visiting side's lead after John Bateman spilled the slippery ball near his own line.
Having absorbed an increasing amount of pressure the Bulls were finally allowed to clear their lines after the Giants conceded a penalty on the last tackle still deep in Bradford territory.
Bulls took full advantage and, after Sean Ainscough off-loaded as he was tackled near the line, Michael Platt found himself with enough room to squeeze in at the corner.
Again the touchline conversion was wayward and Huddersfield responded swiftly with stand-in full-back Aaron Murphy setting prolific winger Luke George free deep in his own half - the Giants leading scorer racing over 70 metres for his 13th try of the season.
Brough made it 12-6 when Bradford were penalised for holding down within four minutes of the start of the second half and the Giants then camped in the Bulls half of an ever-increasing quagmire.
Twice the home side were forced to restart from beneath their own posts before Brough took the opportunity to push his side two scores clear with another penalty from 40 metres out.
Tempers flared in the mud just after the hour when a mass brawl broke out and the Giants were reduced to 12 men when Luke O'Donnell was sin-binned for his part in the melee.
But the Galpharm Stadium outfit maintained their composure and enthusiastic defence kept their line intact until they were restored to a full compliment of 13.
Man of the match Brough sealed the win with barely four minutes to play when charging over from a Luke Robinson pass and then converting his own try.
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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