Super League: Bradford Bulls 30-32 Catalan Dragons

Sam Williams
Williams kicked six goals for Catalan Dragons as they beat Bradford Bulls

Sam Williams converted Elliott Whitehead's late try to give Catalan Dragons a dramatic victory over Bradford Bulls.

The Bulls led 18-12 at half-time as Tom Olbison, Adam Henry and Jamal Fakir scored tries, with Morgan Escare and Vincent Duport replying.

Luke Gale crossed twice after the break to put Bradford 30-26 ahead.

However, Whitehead's score with three minutes remaining - and the subsequent conversion - gave Catalans the win.

The French side have lost just once - a single-point defeat at Leeds - in their last seven games, while second-bottom Bradford have not won in five.

In front of their lowest Super League crowd of the season of 5,188, the Bulls took the lead after swift handling from Gale and Lee Gaskell enabled Olbison to crash over.

Gale landed the first of his five goals, but Catalans were level within six minutes as Zeb Taia broke clear down the left and Escare was on hand to score his 17th Super League try of the season, which Williams converted.

Henry put the Bulls back in front following an incisive Danny Williams break from deep in his own half, and the home side went further ahead as Adam O'Brien fed Fakir, who barged his way through a posse of former team-mates to score against the side he left in April.

Catalans were back in the game at half-time when Williams sent Duport skipping past full-back Brett Kearney to score on his 150th career appearance.

Gale edged Bradford 18-12 clear at the break with a penalty right on the hooter and within two minutes of the restart, they had doubled their lead when Daryl Millard was unable to field a high kick under pressure and Gale pounced to score.

The Dragons responded through Ben Pomeroy, before Julian Bousquet forced his way over from close range, and the conversion from Williams levelled the scores.

Bradford conceded a penalty near the posts with 13 minutes remaining and Williams put the Dragons 26-24 ahead, giving them the lead for the first time in the game.

The home side's response was immediate as Gale burst clear and under the posts, converting his own try.

However, Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous, who was handed a new two-year deal earlier in the week, saw his side snatch a late victory.

Ex-Bradford man Whitehead crossed after the Bulls failed to deal with a towering Escare kick and Williams capped a flawless kicking display to decide the match.

Catalan Dragons head coach Laurent Frayssinous:

"The lessons we learned during the last few weeks worked.

"It was a tough contest and Bradford played pretty well. But I'm proud of my players because they had a dig.

"We were losing 24-12 at one stage but we showed composure and patience and were able to come back and that's something we've not been good at the past few weeks.

"It's a big consolation for what happened last week because I know the performance we put in on the field both this week and last and neither time was it bad."

Bradford Bulls head coach James Lowes:

"Throughout the game we had opportunities to poke ourselves even further in front but committed a couple of soft errors.

"But that is a benchmark for us and if we keep playing to that benchmark we will get our rewards.

"I'm not going to single anyone out because they were all fantastic - they showed some real steel and some of their 'contacts' were fantastic.

"We're in a tough situation and what is going to happen seems inevitable but if we keep playing like that we will get some reward before the end of the year."

Bradford: Kearney, Williams, Henry, Purtell, Blythe, Gaskell, Gale, Manuokafoa, Diskin, Sidlow, Pitts, Olbison, Donaldson.

Replacements: O'Brien, Fakir, Addy, Walker.

Catalan Dragons: Escare, Oldfield, Pomeroy, Duport, Millard, Pryce, Williams, Elima, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Whitehead, Baitieri.

Replacements: Mounis, Pelissier, Bousquet, Garcia.

Attendance: 5,188.

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