A LATE winner spoiled what would have been a memorable first home game for Bradford Bulls’ new coach James Lowes since replacing the axed Francis Cummins a couple of weeks ago.
Catalan came from 12 points behind to win, a converted try from former Bulls star Elliott Whitehead with three minutes remaining sealing a match in which the French side had only been in front on one occasion – for barely three minutes – towards the end.
Just a week earlier the Dragons had led with less than a minute to go at Leeds before conceding a needless penalty which saw them lose by a single point.
Lowes, however, had reason to be proud of one of the better displays of a traumatic season from the seemingly relegation-doomed Bulls, who are 11 points adrift of safety with just eight games to go.
“Throughout the game we had opportunities to poke ourselves even further in front but committed a couple of soft errors,” said Lowes. “But that is a benchmark for us and if we keep playing to that we will get our rewards.
“I’m not going to single anyone out because they were all fantastic – they showed some real steel and some of their ‘contacts’ were fantastic. We’re in a tough situation and what is going to happen seems inevitable, but if we keep playing like that we will get some reward soon.”
The sides scored five tries each with six goals from the Dragons’ Sam Williams edging the issue against five from six attempts from opposing half-back Luke Gale, who also scored two tries to add to touchdowns from Tom Olbison, Adam Henry and ex-Catalan prop Jamil Fakir for the Bulls, who led 16-6 and then 24-12.
Catalan responded through tries from Morgan Escare, Vincent Dupont, Ben Pomeroy and Julian Bousquet before Whitehead snatched victory with his touchdown in the final minutes.
Bradford Bulls: Kearney, Williams, Henry, Purtell, Blythe, Gaskell, Gale, Manuokafoa, Diskin, Sidlow, Pitts, Olbison, Donaldson. Substitutes: O’Brien, Fakir, Addy, Walker.
Catalan Dragons: Escare, Oldfield, Pomeroy, Duport, Millard, Pryce, Williams, Elima, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Whitehead, Baitieri. Substitutes: Mounis, Pelissier, Bousquet, Garcia.
Referee: G Stokes (RFL).