Lowes encouraged by battling Bulls

James Lowes' side were well beaten in the end by Huddersfield

James Lowes' side were well beaten in the end by Huddersfield

First published in National Sport News © by

Bradford coach James Lowes was in bullish mood despite watching his side's relegation from Super League all but confirmed with Sunday's 52-26 defeat by Huddersfield.

A sixth successive defeat leaves the Bulls 13 points from safety with just six matches left and effectively certainly ends a 40-year unbroken stay in the top flight of rugby league.

Yet Lowes, who has yet to experience a win since succeeding Francis Cummins last month, was encouraged by the battling spirit shown by his team, who led 16-10 after 24 minutes thanks to two tries from former Huddersfield winger Luke George and one from hooker Adam O'Brien.

They trailed only 26-20 early in the second half but were eventually blown away by the Giants, for whom winger Jermaine McGillvary scored a hat-trick of tries.

"The lads definitely went down fighting and they will for the rest of the season," Lowes said. "We know where we're at now, that's definite, but with that sort of character, they will get a win before the end of the year.

"I think the lads did themselves justice. I though they went about their business really well.

"We just weren't clinical enough, particularly in the first half, which is a shame really because I thought we were slightly the better side for most of that half."

Bradford have yet to announce whether they will continue their High Court battle to win back the six points they were docked for going into administration but the players and their coach are resigned to life in the Championship in 2015.

Lowes, who played a big role of Bradford's success in the early days of Super League, including their 41-26 victory over Newcastle Knights in the 2002 World Club Challenge at the John Smith's Stadium, is confident he can help bring the team back up from the Championship and return the club to their glory days.

"I've been in this stadium a few times before, popping champagne," he said. "It's a sad sight.

" We want to play back at the very top and what we've got to do now is finish this season off in the right manner, prepare in pre-season for a tough Championship year, target the top four and then the top four of Super League and that gets us up.

"T hat's our challenge. I'm certainly up for that and the guys who will be stopping will certainly be up for it as well.

"W e'll get the ball rolling on plan B, which has rapidly become plan A. Things will start happening hopefully in the next few weeks as regards recruitment."

Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson, a team-mate of Lowes at Bradford from 1997-2003, is hoping the Bulls can follow the example of the Giants, who were relegated from Super League in 2001 but came back 12 months later and last year completed their transformation by lifting the League Leaders' Shield.

"At this moment in time I'm thinking more about us and next week but obviously there is some sympathy there for Bradford," Anderson said. "I have a lot of affinity with Bradford. I had a lot of success there.

"But they are where they are for a reason. They've got some good players but it's not worked out for them this year. It's sad to see.

"Our chairman has just said it was a landmark day for this club when they had to go down and re-group and they came back stronger.

"Jimmy knew the task in hand before he took the job and, if they can keep the majority of that squad together and make some useful additions, they will probably end up in that top four and fight for a place in Super League again."

Anderson was happy his side returned to winning ways after suffering back-to-back defeats but admits they will need to improve markedly on Sunday's error-strewn performance if they are to make an impact in the play-offs.

Second rower Ukuma Ta'ai scored two tries and former Bradford players Brett Ferres and Joe Wardle were also among the scorers while Leroy Cudjoe, who took the goalkicking to enable Danny Brough to rest his injured ankle, succeeded with six of his 10 conversion attempts.

"Obviously the win is the key more than anything and it was god to score fifty points," Anderson added. "I always thought we could score points but there is definite room for improvement in all areas.

"We seem to be happy at the minute to win 40-30. We've got to be more ruthless and stop conceding soft tries."

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