Victory shows Bulls’ new determination, says proud Gale

PROUD captain Luke Gale says Bradford Bulls would never have been able to deliver their epic Headingley win a few weeks ago.

Bradford Bulls' Luke Gale. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Bradford Bulls' Luke Gale. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The England Knights scrum-half was inspirational as the relegated club produced a stunning 20-14 triumph at double-chasing Leeds Rhinos.

It followed directly on from a similar victory over champions Wigan Warriors with both successes coming after a seventh successive defeat had confirmed their demotion.

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With the pressure off, Bradford are clearly enjoying their football once more and Gale says the arrival of coach James Lowes has been pivotal.

“It was a great feeling, particularly at Leeds as it’s always a bit special at Headingley,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

“It wasn’t the prettiest of games – it was one in for a knock-on, really! But we dug it out well and six, seven weeks ago we would not have won that.

“We’d have probably just folded in. We’ve come a long way these last few weeks. We’re working hard off the pitch and our mental attitude showed. That‘s our biggest positive.

“It’s just a shame we’ve struck a bit of form towards the back end. Jimmy’s come in and – no disrespect to Franny (Cummins), I think we were just in a bad place. Franny did a great job and I’m sure wherever he goes he’ll make a great head coach. But like the board said, it just needed a new face and Jimmy’s a stern character. He’s given us a kick up the backside and it’s worked.”

With the game locked 4-4 at half-time, Gale’s try put his side ahead only to see Leeds nudge in front after tries from Brett Delaney and Luke Briscoe.

However, the 26 year-old – who started in the Rhinos academy – came up with a big play to send Lee Gaskell over for the winning effort in the 78th minute and he also finished with four goals.

“We spoke about mental toughness at half-time,” explained Gale. “We knew it’d go down to the last minute and the game being all in our heads. If we batted it out and stayed with them (we had chance).

“We know Leeds are top-class and how many times do you see them win in the last five minutes? That’s just what they do. But we beat them at their own game really.”

Resilient Bradford fully deserved the victory especially given both Leeds’s second half tries only came from dubious referring decisions. “That’s what we spoke about – we didn’t think Leeds could score,” added Gale. “We were that confident in our defence that we didn’t think they would cross unless it was a freak try or a bit of a fortunate score. Our defence was awesome and, even when we went down to 12, we ground it out. It was great.”

Gale was pivotal given he had also made the midfield break that set up position for him to kick for Danny Williams’s opening try, too.

“I feel I’m coming into form,” said a player, who is expected to join Castleford Tigers in 2015.

“I’m sure the fans will say it’s a bit late but it’s a bit easier when the team’s on the roll. The forwards are playing a bit more football with a bit more shape and we’ve got more confidence which makes my job easier too.”