Huddersfield Giants’ captain Danny Brough orchestrated a clinical destruction of Bradford Bulls yesterday to leave their West Yorkshire neighbours in further trouble at the wrong end of Super League.
The reigning Man of Steel was at his effusive best, dictating play and creating opportunities as Huddersfield secured a fifth successive win.
Stand-off Brough was one of nine different try-scorers, including Joe Wardle just hours after attending the birth of his second child, as depleted Bradford, with just one specialist prop in their ranks, were understandably overpowered.
After a 50-0 annihilation by St Helens the previous week, they remain eight points adrift from safety and in dire need of results.
Thankfully, they will have numbers back for Saturday’s trip to Perpignan including Huddersfield prop Antonio Kaufusi – who was not allowed to play here due to the terms of his loan – but that was of little comfort yesterday.
They actually started positively, opening the scoring with a fifth-minute try from Danny Addy, created by Adrian Purtell, the Australian who suffered a heart attack after playing here at Magic Weekend two years ago.
Huddersfield looked edgy in the opening exchanges and there seemed an opportunity to seize on that.
However, they struck with their first real attack when a lovely pass from Brett Ferres – the England second-row returning after a five-game ban – slipped former Bradford centre Wardle over in the 13th minute.
Francis Cummins’s side were undeterred as proven when James Foster scored in the left corner following another slick handling movement involving Addy, Purtell and Adam Henry.
Brough’s 40/20 was the platform for Huddersfield’s next response, although Bradford’s line defence was lax to say the least when Shaun Lunt dummied over from close range.
When Huddersfield did err, Bradford would do immediately likewise, Luke George being bundled into touch on the first tackle a prime example.
They did try pressuring Brough next time he lined up a kick on the last tackle but, as he evaded Adam O’Brien’s tackle, space opened up for the Scotland captain who instead threw a dummy to arc through a gap with Luke Robinson eventually finishing off the sweeping effort.
Jodie Broughton latched onto Leroy Cudjoe’s excellent squeezed pass to go 80m down the right touchline for their fourth, though Lee Gaskell should have done far more in his efforts to stop the Huddersfield winger.
Brough’s kick made it 24-10 at the interval and the second period only saw more pain inflicted on the Bulls.
Brough scored himself after Larne Patrick had streaked through another yawning gap before Scott Grix also benefited from some worrying defence.
As Bradford tired further, it was no surprise to see Ukuma Ta’ai striding through scrum-half Luke Gale’s attempted tackle close to his own line too.
To rub salt into the wound, prop Anthony Mullally – on loan at Odsal earlier this year and just the sort of player needed yesterday – powered over before Patrick collected his own try late on.
It was a sign of Bradford’s spirit that they registered the last score with Foster adding his second after some neat set-up play by young Sam Wood but, by that point, his first try seemed so, so long ago.
Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson admitted his side were uncomfortable against the Bulls early on.
“They started with everything we didn’t – energy and enthusiasm – and it rocked us a bit to be fair,” he said.
“But Larne and Fui (David Faiumu) definitely gave us impact.
“I’m pleased we’ve knocked five out of five now and it’ll give us some confidence going into some big games at Saints on Friday, then Wigan and Leeds.”
Cummins said he was “proud” of the spirit his squad showed but admitted there being a “bit of the season starts now” ahead of the vital trip to France.
Huddersfield Giants: Grix; Broughton, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy; Brough, Robinson; Crabtree, Lunt, Kopczak, Ferres, Chan, Ta’ai. Substitutes: Patrick, Faiumu, Wood, Mullally.
Bradford Bulls: Gaskell; Kear, George, Henry, Foster; Addy, Gale; Walker, Diskin, Sidlow, Olbison, Purtell, Pitts. Substitutes: Arundel, O’Brien, Wood, Mellor.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).