Super League: London Broncos 36-46 Bradford Bulls
|London Broncos (24) 36|
|Tries: Cook, Keyes, Drinkwater 2, Dollapi, Slyney Goals: Drinkwater 6|
|Bradford Bulls (16) 46|
|Tries: Gale 4, Arundel, Kearney, Pitts, Manuokafoa Goals: Foster 7|
Luke Gale scored four tries as Bradford ended their 19-year stay in Super League by beating fellow-relegated side London Broncos in a thriller.
Gale scored twice as the Bulls raced into a 16-0 lead but Broncos hit back to lead 30-16 early in the second half after five unanswered tries.
Half-back Gale completed his hat-trick to help Bradford edge back in front.
Josh Drinkwater appeared to have won it for the hosts, but Gale and Manese Manuokafoa went over to settle it.
The two sides have known they will be playing in the Championship next season for weeks and the Broncos, who have won only once all season, named 12 locally produced players in their squad, including handing a debut to 18-year-old full-back Alex Walker.
|Broncos' and Bulls' 2014 Super League records|
|Bradford deducted six points for entering administration|
But, backed by a noisy away following, it was Super League founder members Bradford who seized the early initiative, scoring three times in the opening 12 minutes.
Gale eased past two defenders to open the scoring against his old club, soon adding a second try, finishing off a fine move involving Brett Kearney and Adam Henry, Jamie Foster converting both.
Joe Arundel crossed for Bradford's third score soon afterwards, but the Broncos soon hit back.
First former Bull Matt Cook crossed before Ben Farrar intercepted Gale's pass to send Joe Keyes in to score, Drinkwater kicking both conversions.
Drinkwater then touched down after collecting Cook's offload, converting his own try to put the hosts in front before Erjon Dollapi barged over for their fourth unanswered score.
Drinkwater again added the extras to send the Broncos into half-time with a 24-16 lead.
Nick Slyney powered over under the posts to increase their advantage, handing Drinkwater the simplest of conversions.
But Bradford refused to lie down, scoring three unanswered converted tries of their own to retake the lead.
First Kearney pounced on a Foster kick to score, then Jay Pitts raced over from Gale's pass before Tom Olbison sent Gale racing away for his hat-trick.
Drinkwater again converted his own try for a personal 20-point haul to edge London back in front but Gale and Manuokafoa crossed in the dying minutes to seal victory for the Bulls.
London Broncos coach Joey Grima:
"I'm more disappointed today than when we shipped 70 points at Warrington a few weeks back.
"It was really clear what we needed to do at half-time, but we lost our heads and lost our cool and paid for it.
"I don't want to be too negative, but there are times when you need to know how to win games and see games out and we did not have that.
"But we are building for the future, and I promise London fans we will be ready for next season."
Bradford coach Jimmy Lowes:
"It was a funny old game, but it was nice to win.
"I'm pleased for the players that are leaving that they can go away with a bit of a smile on their face.
"Things have not gone to plan this season, but they have all kept trying, so it was good to end with two points.
"I'm not even thinking about the Championship yet - that was a Super League game with two Super League sides, and we got the two points."
London Broncos: Walker; Dixon, Atkins, Thomas, Keyes; Farrar, Drinkwater; Slyney, Moore, Wallace, McMeeken, Cook, Vea.
Replacements: Krasniqi, Dollapi, Wicks, Everett.
Bradford: Kearney; Henry, Walker, Arundel, Foster; Addy, Gale; Manuokafoa, O'Brien, Baldwinson, Olbison, Pitts, Donaldson.
Replacements: Mellor, Adams, Whittel, Conroy.
Referee: Joe Cobb (RFL).