A 27-16 win over the Sheffield Eagles sealed Bradford’s first piece of silverware in ten years.
BRADFORD BULLS 27-16 SHEFFIELD EAGLES (Att. 3518)
TRIES: O’Brien (2), Purtell, Welham (2) ; Yere, Worricny
GOALS: Charnock (3/5) ; Aston (2/2)
PENALTIES: N/A ; Aston (2/2)
DROP-GOALS: Chisholm (1/1) ; N/A
Adam O’Brien and Kris Welham scored twice as club captain, Adrian Purtell, ended his spell at Bradford with a try of his own.
The Sheffield Eagles put in a good shift and caused the Bulls some problems either side of the break. However, in the end it was Bradford who had too much quality and closed out the victory with a strong finish to the game.
The 2016 Championship Shield winners! 👏 pic.twitter.com/WpyyV8MKeK
— Bradford Bulls (@OfficialBullsRL) 2 October 2016
Good Start Pay’s Off
The Bulls struck early through Adam O’Brien. Dane Chisholm started the move with a grubber kick which he collected and pushed forward. Quickly, the ball found O’Brien who crossed the line after just 22 seconds.
Lewis Charnock then converted the first of Bradford’s five tries to give them a 6-0 lead.
Just 10 minutes later, captain Adrian Purtell extended Bradford’s lead. Purtell, who is moving to the London Broncos next season, looked delighted to have scored on his final appearance for the club.
As another 10 minutes ticked by, Adam O’Brien scored his second try of the game. His additional four points and Charnock’s third conversion of the match saw the Bulls lead 18-0 in just over 20 minutes.
Following a slow start, there was a fear that Sheffield’s 80-0 defeat to the Bulls two weeks ago was just history waiting to repeat itself. However, that was not the case and the Eagles began to hit back.
Sheffield moved the ball quickly and Manzie Yere crossed the line as the Eagles picked up their first points of the game.
The visitors grew in confidence and scored their second try just five minutes later. This time it was Rob Worrincy who went over for the Eagles. With the score 18-12 at the break, it was clear that Sheffield were now back in contention.
No Last Minute Drama For The Bulls
The Eagles got off to a positive start in the second half with Cory Aston scoring two penalties.
With only two points separating the two finalists, Kris Welham drove down the left wing to score his first try of the game. Charnock was unable to convert and the visitors remained only 6 points behind.
As Eagles only needed a converted try to draw level, Dane Chisholm scored a drop-goal to ensure the Bulls’ lead.
Sheffield pressed forward to try and claw their way back into the final however, that left them exposed in defence and Kris Welham took full advantage.
The 29-year-old scored his second try of the season and secured Bradford’s first piece of silverware since winning the World Club Challenge in 2006.
After missing out on the Qualifiers this season, winning the Championship Shield will be little consolation for many at the club. Rohan Smith’s side will now be looking to quickly rebuild, regroup and once again mount a challenge for that coveted Super League status.
By Sebastian Sternik