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2003 Match Preview: Bradford (Cup)
Wigan v Bradford Semi Final Preview. Posted on Saturday, April 12 2003 @ 00:06:55 BST by Bilko
Cardiff and the Challenge Cup Final is just 80 minutes away.

Bradford are the opposition in what will be our last Sunday afternoon match until the middle of July! :(

Click Read More for full match Preview.

 
Wigan Warriors v Bradford Bulls Powergen Challenge Cup Semi Final
Sunday 13th April 2003. Kick Off 2:00pm at McAlpine Stadium.
Match Introduction
Like the Cup Final last year, Wigan are being written off by the press, opposition fans and even some of our own fans as having no chance of winning this game. Fine by us! That takes the pressure off entirely. If your not expected to win, you've nothing to lose have you?

Never write off Wigan! Bulls coach Brian Noble said it all when he stated  "The fact is they will still parade 10 internationals in their team".

Noble himself has memories to extinguish. He was a member of the Bradford side that lost 71-10 against Wigan at this stage of the competition at Burnden Park, Bolton in 1992.

"I have vivid memories of that," Noble recalls. "It was 1-0 after 13 minutes.

"I just remember Gene Miles smashing everything, all these white-shirted bodies falling off him and Martin Offiah scoring four tries and doing his Messiah-like celebration.

"I actually thought I played quite well that day, in a beaten team, but I just thought wow, what a team. They were fantastic and the plaudits are there for all to see.

"Does it bear any relation to what will happen at the weekend? No, other than the fact that I still have nightmares about it!"

I can only hope we'll be giving Mr Noble another nightmare this weekend. He certainly isn't underestimating us though.

"Stuart is a smart man, urging you to write stories that they can't win," he said.

"What motivation that is for their team! It would be wholly wrong for us to buy into that mentality.

"The reality is they've taken away the pressure from themselves by saying these kinds of things. Semi-finals are all down to emotion, desire and who focuses best on what's happening on the day.

Desire and emotion is exactly what Wigan will need. Stuart Raper is calling for the team to show the spirit of determination of last year.

"It was a good time for us (this time last year), but that's in the past and it's not going to win it for us this year. It is certainly not going to win us the game on Sunday.

"What it will do is instill something into the players that I probably can't give; knowing what it is like to achieve that feeling, but it is not going to make them make the tackles or score the tries.

"These guys have got to look at what they want to achieve this year and how they want to go about it.

"Everyone's already written us off, the odds are pretty high, which doesn't bother me one bit because we showed a few good signs last Friday and I have got a good feeling back from the players," he said.

"We know we are up against it but we are not going to be throwing in the towel. We're not going there to make the numbers up on Sunday.

"We've got a lot of players out, everyone is writing us off and I would advise the players not to read papers or look at what anyone says because it's not going to change our preparation or the way we play.

"I've had some of the assistant coaches working on this for the past two to three weeks. We'll go there ready and prepared for battle. I've got heart anyway in what my players can do and I've got every faith."

Well apart from an improved defence I failed to see the "few good signs" Raper mentioned at Hull last week. I stood there at the back of the stand at the KC Stadium and watched us create nothing in attack, absolutely nothing! We played too much one out football and Lammy's kicking game was appalling. Every kick was straight down the throat of the opposition. We need 100% improvement in our attacking and kicking for us to at least compete with the Bulls. Otherwise a repeat of the dreaded 2001 grand final looms I'm afraid. It takes a lot for me to say that because I'm not normally negative but that's an honest opinion.

This week though I would expect more passion, more desire and more commitment. If you aren't up for a cup semi final then what's the point in playing the game? Let's hope we can finally kill off those evil memories of that dull October day, eighteen months a go!

Terry Newton's got the right attitude. He said: "I'd die for Wigan. And, being a Wigan lad, I know what it means to the Wigan public to get to the final.
"We've been written off, and we have to expect that because we haven't been at our best this season, but we're only 80 minutes away. It's going to be a big ask, but we're up for it."

It doesn't have to pretty. Just scrap it out and get the win!

Finally one aspect of this game to think about is whether influential captain Andy Farrell will play?
Raper has been adamant that he is out for a while but I saw him at Thursday Nights Academy game and he looked ok. I honestly think he'll play but only time will tell I suppose. It wouldn't surprise me put it that way!

Opposition Ones to Watch

Michael Withers

Utility player Michael Withers always causes us problems.

He scored a hatrick in the 2001 Grand Final and twice scored two tries in meetings against us last season.

He can play either Full Back, Stand Off or on the wing. Got to keep him quiet!

SQUAD NUMBER: 6
Team News
Wigan Bradford
17-year-old forward Dave Allen is on standby for his senior debut. Andy Farrell, Mick Cassidy, Brett Dallas and Stephen Wild are ruled out and coach Stuart Raper has several other players facing late fitness tests. Second-rower Jamie Peacock could be in line to make a surprise return after making his comeback from a broken hand in an Academy game last night. Joe Vagana, Daniel Gartner, Lee Radford, Mike Forshaw and Michael Withers are all facing fitness checks.
Match Referee
Steve Ganson (St Helens)
Pre Match Quotes
Wigan Bradford
"I have been getting a good feeling from the Wigan players all week. The spirit in the camp hasn't been better all season. Everybody seems to have written us off already, but it doesn't bother me, and I have advised the players not to read newspapers this week. We're ready for this battle, we're certainly not going out there just to make up the numbers."
"
Stuart Raper.
There is always a lot in the papers before these games. The coaches say their bit, say who is playing or who is injured, but when it comes down to it none of this matters, it is how you perform on the day. It is all very well writing off your side's chances but I wouldn't be surprised if Andy Farrell were to play this weekend." Bulls full back Michael Withers.
Opposition Form (Last 6)
Date Opposition Competition Result Score
06/04/03 Warrington (H) SL8 Round 5 Won 32-8
30/03/03 Widnes (A) SL8 Round 4 Won 26-18
23/03/03 Halifax (H) SL Round 3 Won 62-22
16/03/03 Widnes (A) C.Cup Qtr Final Won 38-28
09/03/03 Wakefield (H) SL8 Round 2 Won 22-10
02/03/03 Hunslet (A) C.Cup Round 5 Won 82-0

Wigan Form (Last 6 all comps most recent game first): LLWWWW

Progression to Semi Finals.
Wigan
Date Rd Opposition Venue

Result

Match Report Att
Sun 9 Feb 4 Halton Simms Cross Home

 Won 82-3

Click Here 3790
Sun 2 Mar 5 Doncaster Dragons Away  Won 50-10 Click Here 3653
Sun 16 Mar QF Swinton Lions Away  Won 70-12 Click Here 5114


Bradford

Date Rd Opposition Venue

Result

Match Report Att
Sat 8 Feb 4 Warrington Wolves Away

Won 38-12

Click Here 5869
Sun 2 Mar 5 Hunslet Hawks Away Won 82-0 Click Here 5865
Sun 16 Mar QF Widnes Vikings Away Won 38-28 Click Here 4219
Challenge Cup 2002-2003 Stats
Top Try Scorers
Wigan:
David Hodgson & Brian Carney 4
Bradford: Lesley Vianikolo 5

Top Goal Kickers
Wigan:
Andy Farrell 11 (Julian O'Neill 14)
Bradford: Paul Deacon 25

Top Points Scorers
Wigan:
Andy Farrell 30 (Julian O'Neill 36)
Bradford: Paul Deacon 50
Previous Challenge Cup Meetings
Year Round Result
1914-15 2 Bradford 3 Wigan 11
1938-39 3 Wigan 7 Bradford 0
1942-43 1 Bradford 23 Wigan 9* (5-6 at Wigan & 18-6 at Bradford) 
1943-44 Final Bradford 8 Wigan 3* (0-3 at Wigan & 8-0 at Bradford)
1947-48 Final Wigan 8 Bradford 3 (at Wembley)
1951-52 2 Wigan 28 Bradford 12
1953-54 2 Wigan 15 Bradford 10
1965-66 3 Bradford 6 Wigan 15
1972-73 3 Bradford 11 Wigan 7
1977-78 2 Wigan 10 Bradford 22
1984-85 3 Bradford 6 Wigan 7
1987-88 1 Wigan 2 Bradford 0
1988-89 2 Bradford 4 Wigan 17
1990-91 3 Wigan 32 Bradford 2
1991-92 Semi Wigan 71 Bradford 10 (at Burnden Park, Bolton)
1992-93 Semi Wigan 15 Bradford 6 (at Elland Road, Leeds)

*Denotes aggregate score (two legged tie)
Challenge Cup Head to Head: Wigan 12 Bradford 4 (2 legged ties given as one match)

Matchday Weather

From bbci.

Light Rain Light Rain
Wind: 16mph from South East.
Temps: Max: 12°C Low: 6°C

Ticket & Ground Details
Tickets are no longer on sale at the JJB but can be bought from the McAlpine on matchday. Cash can be paid at some turnstiles but all fans are advised to arrive as early as possible at the venue to guarantee a place.
South Stand (allocated Wigan end) : Adults - £13 Concessions - £7
Lawrence Batley Stand Upper: Adults - £20 Concessions - £10
Lawrence Batley Stand Lower: Adults - £15 Concessions - £8
John Smiths Stand: Adults - £16 Concessions - £8
Panasonic Stand (allocated Bradford end) : Adults - £13 Concessions - £7
Click for McAlpine Stadium Ground Guide.
Media Coverage
TV: The Match is Live on BBC 2 during Sunday Grandstand from 2pm. Highlights will be on Sky Sports 3 on Sunday Night at 11:00pm. In Australia Fox Sports 1 will have delayed coverage on Friday 18th April at 1:30pm AEDT.
Radio:   95.1 BBC GMR will be on air earlier than usual to bring full 80 minute match commentary of this match. Coverage begins at 1:55pm.
Internet: Live full match commentary from BBC Five Live Sports Extra at bbc.co.uk/fivelive/sportsextra on air from 1:45pm. Alternatively theres live coverage from BBC GMR at bbc.co.uk/manchester from 1:55pm.
Opposition Views
Bradfordbulls.co.uk - Official Site
Redamberandblack.com - Bradford RLfans.com
Bulls Official Forums
Bulls rlfans.com Forum
Prediction
I'm not going to bother for this one. It's too hard to predict!
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