Panthers produce superb display to seal derby win at Bradford Bulls

Halifax Panthers put on a herculean display as they sealed a last-gasp derby day victory against the Bradford Bulls, despite playing 79 minutes with just 12 men.

By Seb Sternik
Sunday, 17th April 2022, 7:57 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th April 2022, 7:58 pm
Halifax Panthers

Simon Grix’s men defied the odds and showed incredible character as they came from behind to seal their third straight Championship victory.

Louis Jouffret scored the match-winning try as Halifax scored 12 unanswered points in the final 15 minutes to complete a memorable Odsal coup.

Things couldn’t have started any worse for the Panthers who went down to 12 men in the opening 60 seconds of the contest.

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Jacob Fairbank received the red card as both teams came together in a skirmish just moments after kick-off.

Bradford took the lead in the sixth minute as Dec Patton converted an early penalty into two points.

However, just moments later, Halifax equalised with a penalty of their own as Joe Keyes slotted the ball through the sticks.

Despite being a man down, the Panthers didn’t look any less dangerous and their early offence proved fruitful as Brandon Moore powered over the whitewash for the opening try of the match.

Adam Tangata provided the platform for the effort as his forceful burst through Bradford’s defence allowed Moore to get over under the sticks from dummy half. Keyes added the extras to make it 8-2.

The Bulls responded ten minutes later as Sam Scott received a short ball at the line and span his way over for the try. His effort was converted by Patton as Bradford levelled the match.

Moments before the half-time hooter, the hosts added another point to the scoreboard as Jordan Lilley knocked over a drop goal to move his men 9-8 in-front at the interval.

After the break, it was the hosts who picked up where they left off as they continued to add points. First it was veteran Steve Crossley who powered over the tryline, as Patton added two more points with the boot. Just moments later, Patton struck again, this time with a penalty goal.

Bradford now had a 17-8 lead and seemed on course for a derby day victory as the final 15 minutes came into view.

That, however, was not how things transpired. Halifax, who produced an extraordinary comeback against Whitehaven two weeks earlier, kept their heads up and continued to ask questions.

Those questions soon turned into valuable points as Zack McComb forced his way over from close range. A successful conversion from Keyes made it 17-14.

The clock was not on the side of the Panthers as Bradford held on to their three-point lead until the late stages of the contest.

However, the Panthers continued to press and with just four minutes remaining, Louis Jouffret touched down in the corner from dummy half to send the away stands into pandemonium. Keyes added two more points with a touchline conversion as Halifax completed one of the best victories in the Championship this season.

The win moves Halifax into the top six for the first time this season.