Bradford Bulls 72 Doncaster 6: Gary’s grim start as Dons boss

Pas Dunn breaks clear to score the Dons only try of the afternoon. Photo: Rob Terrace
Pas Dunn breaks clear to score the Dons only try of the afternoon. Photo: Rob Terrace

There was to be no winning start for new boss Gary Thornton.

For the Dons crashed to their heaviest defeat of the season in yesterday’s Championship clash at Bradford Bulls.

To be fair to the former Batley and York coach,Thornton could hardly have had a more difficult game than to face a Bradford side lying second in the table and on a 13-match winning run in the league.

The Dons’ hopes of springing what would arguably have been the shock result of the season, wasn’t helped by the fact that they lacked a couple of second-rowers and again had to field a two hookers at half-back.

Thornton would have been relatively pleased with the Dons’ first half performance during which his charges showed plenty of spirit and commitment and also showed improvement in other areas such as ball retention.

But the team’s second half performance, albeit affected by injuries, will have underlined the size of the task he faces trying to keep the club in the Championship.

Both sides went close in the opening stages – Mike Emmett being held just short from acting half-back - before Bulls’ prop Adam Sidlow showed good pace to score after breaking the line 20 metres out.

Scrum-half Danny Addy touched down for a try converted by Shaw, from a superb off-load by Tom Olbison close to the line.

The visitors opened their account on 22 minutes when loose-forward Pasqualle Dunn capitalised on a handling mistake on the edge of the Bradford 20, re-gathered his own kick and held off the cover to score near enough for full-back Dave Scott to convert to make it 14-6.

Bulls struck again through winger Danny Williams before the break to lead 18-6.

The powerful Williams made the running for Bulls’ fifth try of the game, scored by James Mendeika and converted by Addy, early in the second half.

Williams, fellow winger Etu Uaisele, centre Adam Henry and Steve Crossley all added tries, two of which were converted, in quick succession as Bulls raced into a 44-6 lead by the end of the third quarter.

A converted try by Lee Gaskill saw Bulls hit the 50 point mark in what proved to be an embarrassingly one-sided second half.

The Dons’ cause wasn’t helped by Matt Groat being sin-binned and whilst he cooled his heels Bulls added a further try by Crosssley.

Mendeika and Williams (2) added late tries.

Bradford: Shaw; Williams, Purtell, Henry, Uaisele; Gaskell, Addy; Clough, O’Brien, Sidlow, Olbison, Pitts,Mellor, Subs: Lauaki, Crossleyu, Philippe-Baile, Mendeika.

Dons: Scott; Doherty, Cowling, Welham,Fox; Kesik, Cunningham; Groat, Emmett, Clark, Turgot, Foster, Dunn. Subs: Spiers, Carbutt, Walton, Sanderson.

Referee: Ton Crashley.

Attendance: 4,982.