HUDDERSFIELD Giants’ Danny Brough can do no wrong at the moment, including seemingly walking on water.
That may be taking the scrum-half’s talents a little too far but the manner in which he negotiated a rain-sodden Odsal pitch yesterday to fire the Super League leaders to another win was as impressive as anything he has produced yet.
It was not quite to the levels of the famous 1968 ‘Watersplash’ Wembley Challenge Cup final but a couple of torrential downpours had left Bradford’s playing surface covered with puddles which made life miserable for all concerned,
However, Brough still somehow managed to deliver his stellar kicking game, whether it be booming efforts downfield which kept Bradford at bay or a rich selection of shortened dabs which, more often than not, reaped another drop-out.
He pinged two tricky 40m penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking over and even when the hosts tried charging him down it only led to more frustration.
Brough simply dummied as he shaped to kick on the last tackle inside his own half and, ignoring the horrendous underfoot conditions, nimbly stepped through the Bulls chasers to break clear down the middle.
As full-back Karl Pryce loomed, he then showed great vision to boot towards the right corner where Jermaine McGillvary dived over for a 15th-minute try.
Brough aquaplaned over himself with just five minutes remaining to round off a superb display which left coach Nathan Brown purring.
“He was just outstanding,” said the Australian, about a player who will surely make his England debut against the Exiles.
“He’s playing terrific football. Every good team has got a good kicker and in weather like that it becomes more important.
“But our back three never made an error between them either. On an absolute bog like that for our two wingers and full-back to do that was a great achievement.
“We started preparing on Wednesday for a game like this. We picked our team around it (the conditions) and made a few positional changes with probably the biggest pack we’ve had this season.
“If it hadn’t have been wet, Potsy (Bradford coach Mick Potter) probably would have had the fire brigade down here watering it. We prepared for a tough wet-weather game and he coaches Bradford to play very good wet weather football.
“Some people under-rate them but Bradford have a very good pack of forwards who are probably as good as any in the competition.
“We knew it was going to be a hard game and we didn’t care how we won or how ugly it was as long as we came off the field with the two points.”
Bradford did, indeed, seem well-suited to the conditions early on and their simple, robust game plan never allowed Huddersfield to find much rhythm.
Danny Addy put them ahead with an eighth-minute penalty after his former Bulls Academy colleague Joe Wardle grapple tackled Bryn Hargreaves.
But the visitors replied through McGillvary’s try and Huddersfield wasted another chance when an overlap was created down Bradford’s right only for Kevin Brown’s pass to found touch.
Some excellent Bradford defence saw them survive a long period on their own line, Larne Patrick storming closest for Giants, but with Tom Burgess and Tom Olbison making a real impact off the bench, the hosts kicked on to hit back in the 34th minute.
Ben Jeffries’s short pass slipped Shaun Ainscough through and, although Brown initially denied him, he flung out the ball for Michael Platt to slide over.
Huddersfield went in 10-6 up though after Luke George scored his 11th league try of the season with a 70m solo effort, Brough converting. Craig Kopczak was penalised for holding down in the 44th minute so Brough further extended his side’s lead.
Pryce then produced a thunderous shoulder charge on Aaron Murphy to deny the Giants full-back after he latched onto David Faiumu’s half-break. However, as Bradford handling mistakes increased as they tried getting out of their own 20m area, Huddersfield simply turned the screw.
Brough slotted his second penalty when Manase Manuokafoa was perhaps harshly adjudged to have interfered after a tackle on Eorl Crabtree.
Giants second-row Luke O’Donnell was sin-binned after a melee broke out, wading in to help Brough but, as Nathan Brown rightly pointed out afterwards, the Australian never actually threw a punch. That yellow card should have given Bradford chance to claw back the eight-point deficit.
But instead it was Brough who finished off, converting his own sharp try at the finish.
Potter admitted: “The other team handled the conditions better than us.
“They kicked the ball better than us and kicked at the right time.
“Nothing changed in the second half,just the energy levels drained out of us while their energy levels got better and better.
“There’s more to it than just Danny Brough – the chase was good too and the timing of the kicks and chase has a lot to do with it.”
Bradford: Pryce; Purtell, Platt, Lulia, Ainscough; Addy, Jeffries; Manuokafoa, Diskin, Hargreaves, Elima, Whitehead, Langley, Substitutes: Bateman, Burgess, Olbison, Kopczak.
Huddersfield: Murphy; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, George; Grix, Brough; Crabtree, Robinson, Mason, Lawrence, O’Donnell, Brown. Substitutes: Faiumu, Ferguson, Patrick, Chan,
Referee: T Alibert (Toulouse).
Hood accepts his Bradford days are over
BRADFORD Bulls chairman Peter Hood has accepted he will be forced out of the troubled club next month.
An extraordinary general meeting has been called after major shareholders raised concerns about the financial crisis that has recently engulfed the West Yorkshire outfit.
Hood’s position has been under threat ever since he announced last month that Bradford needed £1m to avoid going bust. A pledge scheme raised the initial £500,000 required to stave off an imminent threat but the same amount again is needed in the next few weeks to secure the club’s future.
Ex-chairman Chris Caisley, who remains the club’s biggest single shareholder, will call a vote of no confidence in Hood and co-director Andrew Bennett at the EGM.
However, Hood has already accepted his fate as he wrote in yesterday’s matchday programme against Huddersfield Giants: “I anticipate this being my last contribution to a Bradford Bulls programme.
“For a handful of shareholders in Bradford Bulls Holdings led by former chairman Chris Caisley, who between them hold slightly in excess of 50 per cent of the company’s share capital, have given notice that they intend to vote myself and Andrew Bennett out of office at an extraordinary general meeting called for next month.
“From my personal perspective it has been an honour to have served the club for more than 18 years in total since 1989.
“I shall take with me many fond memories – for colleagues past and present, for friends made across the rugby league community, for famous victories and infamous defeats.
“There has been speculation that Mr Caisley and his cohorts may be in a position to introduce new funding into the club. If that proves to be the case it is to be greatly welcomed and applauded for, as we know, the role of moneymen these days is central to sporting success. Neither I nor Andrew Bennett would wish to be an impediment to that.”