Sheffield 32 Bradford 30: Briggs penalty enough to stave off Bulls’ second-half fightback

A few words out of place helped provide the narrow margin that saw Sheffield survive a late fightback by Bradford.
Kyle Briggs.Kyle Briggs.
Kyle Briggs.

Forward Epalahame Lauaki’s comments saw a penalty pushed to the 40-metre line, Kyle Briggs’s boot did the rest and although Bulls scored a late try it wasn’t enough.

Bradford battled to pull back a 30-6 deficit in the final 20 minutes but paid for being outplayed by an adventurous Sheffield team in the first half.

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“It got a bit intense towards the end and I was panicking a bit but we did just enough,” said Eagles coach Mark Aston.

Bradford took an early lead with stand-off Jake Mullaney scoring the first of three tries.

A swift reply with full-back Quentin Laulu-Togagae coming into line to sweep over changed all that with the Bulls unable to halt the charge down the middle led by Tony Tonks that gave half-back Briggs space to orchestrate the play.

Sheffield went on the rampage with Briggs touching down after Danny Addy had failed to smother a Dominic Brambani grubber kick, Tonks blasted over under the posts and winger Rob Worrincy squeezed in at the corner from Sam Smeaton’s pass. Briggs converted three to give a convincing 22-6 lead at the break.

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Worrincy acrobatically dived in at the corner from Laulu-Togaage’s pass after the restart. Briggs kicked the goal and a penalty for a 24-point lead.

With Sheffield tiring, Bradford started to throw the ball about in the final 20 minutes. Mullaney completed his hat-trick either side of setting up a try for Ryan Shaw before Eagles gratefully accepted the extra 10 metres to give Briggs his sixth goal.

A try from Jay Pitts and Shaw’s fifth goal cut the margin to two points but smart play kept the game in Bradford’s half and it was enough.

Sheffield: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Smeaton, Worrincy; Briggs, Brambani; Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, Knowles, Strsugheir, Taulapapa. Substitutes: Battye, Davey, Davies, Tonks.

Bradford: Mendeika; Shaw, Blythe, Henry, Uaisele; Mullaney, Addy; Lauaki, O’Brien, Sidlow, Ferguson, Walker, Pitts. Substitutes: Caro, Walshaw, Crossley, Fleming.

Referee: C Leatherbarrow (RFL).