Match Report: Bradford Bulls 34-32 Hull FC

Match Report: Bradford Bulls 34-32 Hull FC

A young Hull sided went down to Bradford Bulls, but there were plenty of positives for Tony Smith to take from his sides display.

Club News

A young Hull sided went down to Bradford Bulls, but there were plenty of positives for Tony Smith to take from his sides display.

Hull tries came from Lennon Bursell, Lennon Clark, Zach Jebson, Denive Balmforth, Roman Dawson and Lewis Martin’s last minute score, but goal kicking proven the difference as Bradford’s experienced team held on to win by two points.

Team News

Hull FC Head Coach Tony Smith named a youthful side to face Bradford in Hull’s first hit out of 2024, with 20 of the 21 man squad having come through the Black & Whites Centre of Excellence system.

Will Gardiner captained the side from loose forward, and he led the way in terms of both age and experience. Further Super League experience came through the likes of Charlie Severs, who made his just his second appearance in 16 months having suffered from serious shoulder injuries in 2023.

Other familiar names included Denive Balmforth, Nick Staveley, Harvey Barron, Matty Laidlaw and Lewis Martin.

For the Bulls, coached by former Black & White Eamon O’Carroll, also had a smattering of Super League experience including another former Hull player, Joe Arundel.

Papua New Guinea international Kevin Appo started at loose forward, with Daniel Smith also featuring for the hosts.

The Match:

The match could have started much better for Hull. From the opening set of the game a penalty followed by a knock on put Hull in good ball position on the Bulls line.

Denive Balmforth, busy in the opening exchanges gave a short pass to Lennon Bursell who poked his nose through the tackle and reached out to score, which Harman converted.

From there, the Bulls hit straight back. Hull’s response from the kick off set was the kick the ball dead for a seven tackle set, and then gave away a six again from the resulting plays. Bradford took full advantage, catching Hull’s left side defence short for Dan Smith to spin out and score to level things up via Billy Jowitt’s conversion.

Bradford were the next to score, keeping the ball alive on the last tackle to win a goal line drop out. From the repeat set the Bulls made their way down the short pitch, and two offloads back to back from Appo and Okoro allowed George Flanagan to dive over to score.

After an incorrect play the ball Hull had chance to build some pressure, and Logan Moy and Damel Diakhate both went close, but on the last Sully Medforth kicked the ball dead, for the second time in the game to let the Bulls off the hook.

Again, Medforth was made to pay for his error with the Bulls scoring from the resulting set. Attacking with too much speed at the ruck for Hull’s defence, on the last tackle simple hands got the ball to Joe Arundel to spin out of Ryan Westerman’s grasp and fall over the line to score.

Dan Smith then crossed for his second of the afternoon, again from Flanagan’s offload proving too big and strong for Hull’s young side to stroll under the posts and score.
Bradford had the next chance as Keven Appo went on the rampage, but brilliant defending from Logan Moy and Matty Laidlaw stopped the PNG International just shy of the line, before he knocked on at the play the ball attempt.

After the spate of scoring Hull’s young team grew into the game and even created a few chances of their own, Hodgson and Will Gardiner going close for Hull before the half time break, but they weren’t able to turn pressure into points.

From that pressure Lewis Martin tried a grubber through the Bulls line which went out dead, and for the third time of the afternoon Hull were made to pay for that same error. Bradford made their way into Hull territory and Brad England reached out from dummy half and was judged to have got the ball down, Jowitt converting his fourth of the afternoon to see out the half.

Half Time: Bradford Bulls 28 – 06 Hull FC

Lennon Clark scored the opening try of the second half. A strong carry from Matty Laidlaw created space on Hull’s left, which Mackenzie Harman was good enough to take advantage of, firing a lovely pass to Lennon Clark who had the strength to reach out and score. Harman nailed his touchline conversion to reduce the deficit further.

Zach Jebson further reduced Bradford’s lead on the next set. Another strong carry from Laidlaw won Hull a penalty. On the last play Will Gardiner offloaded to Jebson to race over underneath the posts.

The next 15 minutes or so were even, with both sides having their opportunities, but it was the Bulls who scored next and extinguished any slim Hull hopes of a comeback with 20 minutes remaining. Jamie Gill steamed onto a short pass near the Hull line and was too big and strong for the Black & Whites defence, as Jowitt again converted.

Hull scored next, Denive Balmforth with a lovely try all of his own making. Impressing on his return from his loan spell at Newcastle, Balmforth scampered out of dummy half before a lovely sidestep on the full back to clear his route to the line.

Hull further reduced the Bulls’ lead as Roman Dawson showed neat footwork close to the Bulls line to reach out and make the closing five minutes a one score game after Charles’ missed conversion.

Hull went into the final five minutes needing to score a converted try, and with the last play of the game Lewis Martin got the try Hull craved. Logan Moy won Hull a penalty, and from that Sully Medforth floated a perfect pass to Lewis Martin to dive over in the corner to score. However, the angle beat Jack Charles as his conversion drifted across the face of the posts and see the Bulls win by just two points.

Full Time: Bradford Bulls 34 – 32 Hull FC


Bradford Bulls: Billy Jowitt, Mackenzie Scurr, Will Adams, Joe Arundel, Will Oakes, Daniel Moss, Sam Ackroyd, Dan Okoro, George Flanagan, Daniel Smith, Eliot Peopshi, Keven Appo; Jaden Barraclough, Dom Waites, Jamie Gill, Finley Balback, Jacob Bateman, Bailey Arnold, Harry Gray, Ethan Newboult

Hull FC: Logan Moy, Harvey Barron, Zach Jebson, Ryan Westerman, Lewis Martin, Mackenzie Harman, Sully Medforth, Lennon Bursell, Denive Balmforth, Damel Diakhate, Charlie Severs, Nick Staveley, Will Gardiner; Jack Charles, Matty Laidlaw, Jon Turner, Jeylan Hodgson, Lennon Clark, Will Kirby, Will Hutchinson, Roman Dawson

The Scorers:

Bradford Bulls Tries: Daniel Smith (7, 22), George Flanagan (12), Joe Arundel (18), Brad England (39), Jamie Gill (60)

Bradford Bulls Goals: Billy Jowitt (5/6)

Hull FC Tries: Lenon Bursell (4), Lennon Clark (44), Zach Jebson (46), Denive Balmforth (70), Lewis Martin (80)

Hull FC Goals: Mackenzie Harman (3/3), Jack Charles (1/3)