Bradford 18 Hull KR 44: Diskin is unable to help Bulls as Rovers prosper

Kris Welham fails to get away from Adrian Purtell.
Kris Welham fails to get away from Adrian Purtell.
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AS Disco Inferno belted out from Odsal’s pre-match singer last night, a Disko of another kind must have wondered if his Bradford Bulls side were set for yet more hellish treatment.

Matt Diskin, the club’s captain who was put in caretaker charge after head coach Francis Cummins was sacked on Monday, is more likely to develop his property business than have any desire to move into coaching when the 32 year-old’s playing career eventually comes to an end.

He prepared Bradford solidly enough before sending them out to face Hull KR last night but he is no magician and all the old problems that had blighted the reign of Cummins, his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate, typically resurfaced.

The facts of the matter are that the West Yorkshire club are still eight points adrift of Super League safety this morning but with one less game to somehow get themselves out of the relegation mire.

It’s now 10 fixtures and counting and their next appointment – at Warrington a week tomorrow – is far from prosperous given those hosts are on a six-game winning run.

It will be no surprise, then, if chairman and owner Marc Green does decide to take further legal action in his bid to retrieve the six points docked by the RFL – a decision upheld by a Sporting Sanctions Appeal Panel – for entering administration.

In his programme notes, Green – out of the country last night – wrote: “Despite this being unpopular with others in the game, we will be making a decision next week as to whether to take matters to the High Court.

“While I appreciate the comments made suggesting we should accept our medicine and move on, I can only acquiesce to such thought process if I am satisfied the original decision was correct. Just because a doctor provides a diagnosis, it does not mean you are not entitled to a second opinion.”

It will serve as some comfort perhaps to the club’s players and staff that he went on to reiterate his commitment once more and added that there would be no redundancies as a result of relegation in “any department” while a full-time team would be in operation.

After this result, it seems certain that plan will have to be put into action unless there is some sort of miraculous points reprieve.

Frustratingly, Bradford, embarrassed last week at Salford in a defeat that prompted Green’s decision to axe Cummins, had much of the running in the first half last night yet somehow went in 18-6 down.

When Craig Hall accelerated into pace to score Hull KR’s fourth try just 90 seconds into the second period, the game was over despite the determined hosts battling vainly to find a way back in.

They should really have taken control in that opening period when the visitors – bouncing back from two heavy consecutive defeats against Castleford and Warrington – failed to build any concerted pressure.

Adam O’Brien and Manase Manuokafoa both got over the Rovers goalline only to be denied by the irritating presence of Travis Burns who each time managed to prevent a clean grounding.

Visiting full-back Greg Eden regularly invited them in, too, with the sort of unexplainable errors that often blight the talented but constantly erratic former Castleford Tigers player.

He fumbled one malign kick to concede a drop-out and then dallied on another, therefore forced to scramble out of danger and eventually knocking on again.

Bradford had a 10m scrum from there but both times failed to make their possession pay.

Their solitary try came in the 20th minute after Hull KR’s Neville Costigan blew up at a scrum, erupting in an incident that was put on report and saw Diskin spoken to, too.

Danny Addy, as so often one of Bradford’s better performers, forced a drop out and eventually scored through a well-fashioned effort that saw Luke Gale linking with Lee Gaskell, the full-back whose long cut-out pass ushered Elliot Kear over in the corner.

Gale converted but Rovers, who had taken a 15th minute lead when Burns dummied over for a try the Australian improved himself, struck twice in quick succession.

Chev Walker was penalised for ripping possession from Rhys Lovegrove but there was no excuse for the manner in which Josh Hodgson, the Rovers hooker who was in England’s training camp last week, was then allowed to move out of dummy half and ease over almost untouched from centrefield.

He broke from deep soon after and, though Bradford survived that, they imploded when Gaskell was daydreaming and failed to take Adrian Purtell’s offload, gifting Kris Welham, the England Knights centre farmed out to Gateshead Thunder last week, an easy try on his return to first team action.

Burns, who was at the heart of all Rovers’ best moments, converted both and, after Hall’s first, it was the captain whose clever short pass slipped Eden over for another try in the 51st minute.

O’Brien was held up again but the young hooker’s persistence was finally rewarded with a try on the hour mark, Gale improving.

Typically, though, his side immediately conceded as Bradford-born Adam Walker exposed more weak defence on their own line.

Addy scored a deserved try after good work from Adam Sidlow but Craig Sandercock’s side finished strongest, the classy Hall arcing over for his second before Eden raced 95m for his brace after another Bradford move collapsed, Burns finishing with six goals.

A crowd of 5,601 was Bradford’s lowest of the season – and just 191 more than the club’s lowest ever Super League attendance.

Bradford Bulls: Gaskell; Kear, Purtell, Blythe, George; Addy, Gale; Baldwinson, Diskin, Sidlow, Pitts, Olbison, Donaldson. Substitutes: Manuokafoa, O’Brien, Fakir, Walker.

Hull KR: Eden; Gardner, Welham, Hall, D Hodgson; Burns, Keating; Netherton, J Hodgson, Weyman, Horne, Lovegrove, Costigan. Substitutes: Ollett, A Walker, Carlile, Green.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham)