Leeds Rhinos 18-18 Bradford Bulls
By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Jamie Peacock went from hero to villain as Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls shared the spoils in a pulsating Super League encounter at Headingley Carnegie.
Former Bulls prop Peacock scored a tremendous try to put the Rhinos 18-12 ahead in the second half before his petulance denied Kevin Sinfield a crucial drop goal.
Peacock was then sin-binned with two minutes left on the clock for a professional foul which allowed Adam Sidlow to crash over the try-line to secure the Bulls a deserved point.
Considering the start the Bulls endured to the match they would have taken it – Leeds scoring and converting their first try within 24 seconds of the kick off.
Sinfield’s kick-off took an awkward bounce in front of the Bulls’ posts and fell nicely back into Rhinos’ hands. And on the second tackle, Kallum Watkins was over and Leeds were dreaming of a heavy win.
But, momentum swung into Bradford’s favour after Ryan Hall’s try was ruled out due to Jamie Jones-Buchanan being offside. From Jamie Foster’s fine individual play, Adrian Purtell levelled the scores midway through the first half. Further Bulls pressure told when
Leeds responded and ensured that it was 12-12 going into half-time. Interchange Mitch Achurch, with only his second touch of the ball, forced his way over the Bulls try-line – the try given after a brief look from the video referee.
Leeds continued to press with vigour as the second half begun and a succession of penalties against Bradford opened the door. Peacock, in his 50th appearance in this fixture, bulldozed his way through the Bulls defence and showed sheer brute force to plant the ball down for 18-12 on 53 minutes.
The Rhinos then had to survive a relentless Bulls attack and seemed on course for the win until the game began to get tasty on the tackles front. A dangerous challenge by Elliott Whitehead on Jones-Buchanan triggered a lively five minutes with referee Phil Bentham handling the situation brilliantly.
However, the experienced Peacock then stupidly got involved with a Bulls defender just as Sinfield kicked over a drop goal, which would have effectively sealed the game. Bentham penalised him and Leeds never got another chance to attack.
Bradford knew they had one chance left and when Peacock was sent packing for his professional foul on Brett Kearney, the Bulls had it – Sidlow made himself the hero to send the Bulls’ supporters delirious.