Season Review: Bradford Bulls

bradfordPoints For: 649

Points Against: 705

Home Record: W4 D1 L8

Away Record (including Magic weekend): W8 L6

Longest Winning Streak: 5

Longest Losing Streak: 5

Top Points Scorer: Paul Deacon (191)

Top Try Scorer: Semi Tadulala (13)

Top Tackler: Jamie Langley (893)

Too little, too late is probably the best way of summing up the season for Bradford. Bradford’s awful start was curious, particularly as the first three sides they beat were Catalans, Leeds and St Helens (the previous year’s top three) yet they also suffered a number of close defeats (and letting off Hull KR with a draw on the opening day proved surprisingly crucial in the end). This meant that their successful run at the end was in vain, because ultimately Bradford had taken their destiny out of their own hands.

The low point for Bradford was almost certainly their humiliating defeat at home to Warrington, when they were completely ripped apart by Chris Hicks and Mickey Higham. That defeat spurred on their first slight rise in form, winning four out of the next six games, most impressively a come-from-behind win against St Helens.  Unfortunately the Bulls couldn’t keep that momentum going until the final five games, where they almost performed a miracle, falling just short of the playoffs.

Bradford

Bradford really got their mojo working towards the end, not only winning but winning convincingly. In the end, their final five games paints a picture of success that was really out of touch with the previous three quarters of he season. It was a really confusing season, because the Bradford of the final five weeks was amongst the form teams of the competition, whilst the Bulls side for the rest of the seaswas just never able to gain that momentum. By the time they did, it was too late.

Bradford definitely had a solid pack for the majority of the season, but it was rarely spectacular. Sam Burgess was good for the most part, but he seemed to suffer from being targeted as a key man. Andy Lynch has been awesome, and it’s been nice to see Steve Menzies havsuch a huge impact – even though he’s an old man, he’s still got the goods and I think it made perfect sense for the Bulls to sign him up for another year. The Bulls’ main problem has been a lack of cutting edge throughout the season, although they seemed to find it in their final spurt.

This is the first year that the Bulls have not made the playoffs, so it’s undoubtedly a failure in that regard. However, they showed some fight and nearly scraped their way into the top 8, so at least they have some momentum and belief heading into next year.The Bulls are clearly in a transitional period and you have to wonder if there will be that many glory days at Odsal in the short term, but with some talented youngsters like James Donaldson emerging, a few smart signings might see them back in the playoffs next year. They just need to make sure they don’t start so awfully again.

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