It was an opening day to forget for the Bradford Bulls coach Steve McNamara. First he saw a last-gasp Michael Dobson drop goal earn Hull Kingston Rovers a share of the spoils and a 13-13 draw at Odsal, and then he discovered that two of his back row forwards face lengthy spells out after dislocating their shoulders. "It's not a great way to start the season but we'll cope with the players we've got," said McNamara, after hearing reports about loose forward Jamie Langley and second row David Solomona.
The Bradford captain Paul Deacon thought he had won the match for the home side with a drop goal of his own with two minutes left to edge the Bulls 13-12 ahead. But Rovers' scrum-half Dobson had the final say with his one-pointer in the dying moments. Rovers had a 12-10 interval advantage through two tries from the winger Peter Fox and two goals from Dobson, with Semi Tadulala and Chris Nero touching down for Bradford.
"It was a point lost, without a doubt," added McNamara. Castleford old-boy Luke Dorn grabbed a try in each half on his return to The Jungle to give Harlequins a 12-8 victory in their opening game. "A few of the boys were disappointed with what we did with the ball but I thought what we did defensively far outshone anything we did on the attack," said the Quins coach Brian McDermott.
Huddersfield gave Nathan Brown a dream start to his Super League coaching career with a 30-8 rout of last year's surprise package Catalans Dragons in Perpignan. The former Salford, Widnes and Bradford second rower Simon Finnigan marked his Giants debut with a try in either half as the Yorkshiremen gained revenge for last year's 48-0 thrashing at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium. The Australian full-back Tony Duggan scored his 100th try in English rugby league but it was not enough to prevent new boys Celtic Crusaders going down 28-16 at Salford.
The 30-year-old, who scored the Crusaders' first-ever try in their inaugural game three years ago, touched down twice in a six-minute spell early in the second half to reach the landmark on his 85th appearance. * With agencies