Written by John Davidson
Photo by Bradford Bulls
Bradford Bulls coach John Kear has taken aim at a penalty try awarded against his team in their Challenge Cup quarter-final loss to Halifax and claimed it was a “turning point” in the defeat.
Behind 6-0 early in the second, Fax were given a penalty try when Steven Tryer was tackled in the air by Bradford centre Jake Webster as he jumped to catch the ball in the in-goal and ground the ball.
The decision gave Halifax an 8-6 lead and the Championship side went on to win the 20-16 game.
A crowd of 6,591 was on hand at Odsal stadium to see the two second-division clubs battle it out in a contest that ebbed and flowed, and had many contentious points.
The Bulls boss was displeased with the penalty try but paid credit to the performance of Fax.
“I wasn’t really happy about it but I’ll watch it back tonight,” Kear said.
“Jake Webster has to compete for the ball, he’d get a serve off me if he didn’t… I’ll need have to have a good look at it and analyse it and see if it was the right decision.
“I thought the eight-point try was a bit harsh, it was a big turning point…. [But] I’d like to congratulate Halifax, I thought they played a really good game.”
Kear admitted the Bulls were “intensely disappointed” to be eliminated from the Cup after a sensational upset of Leeds Rhinos in the last 16.
“We thought we had a great opportunity,” he said
“In the first half we defended absolutely magnificently. Losing Rowan [Milnes] affected us, no doubt about that.
“It’s such fine margins. That’s rugby league. It’s been a really good game, a very enjoyable one for all concerned.
“It could have gone either way, but unfortunately for us this time it’s gone to the opposition. We’ve had mixed emotions today.
“I thought it was a great standard of rugby league for the Championship. Anybody who’s watched that, live or on TV, I think that was the best game of the four.
“What we have to do now is attempt to dust ourselves down, overcome our disappointment pretty soon and go again on Wednesday against Barrow.”
Kear confirmed halfback Rowan Milnes has broken his fibula and will be out for between six to 12 weeks.
Milnes had to be stretchered off late in the first half after suffering the bad break.
“Rowan’s at hospital,” he said.
“That’s the saddest thing to come out of today. We’ll have to see how long he’s out for. It’s not good news for us but we have to get on with it.”