|Wigan make a welcome return to Odsal Stadium tomorrow as they travel
to Bradford for a clash with the Bulls!
It's fair to say we are all glad to see the back of the much hated
Valley Parade and it's hitleresque stewards. Of course it didn't help
that we didn't win any of our four trips to that ground but good
riddance to the place!
The return to Odsal brings back memories of our last trip there in
2000. Bradford had an 31 match unbeaten home record until Frank
Endacott's Wigan side strolled into town and took the spoils with the
help of a comical drop goal from Neil Cowie! It's just one of so many
memories that puts a smile of your face!
Three years on and Wigan will be looking for a similar victory which
will help cement our place in the play offs.
It's always going to be tough against the Bulls but coach Stuart
Raper says we have nothing to fear.
Raper said: "Bradford are a very good side, they are very well
drilled, they do know how to win a game but we are going to go there
with no fear. "
"I think sometimes they can intimidate a side before you even turn up
for the game. We will give them plenty of respect but we are quietly
confident we can go out there and do a job. We want to get some of these
games they have got us on the bell and we want to start getting a few
back and that starts this weekend for us.”
Wigan haven't beaten Bradford since August 2001 so we are due a win
but we are going to have to produce a complete eighty minute performance
like last week against Hull to have any chance.
We need to produce the spirit of the last hour against St Helens a
fortnight a go but if we go 20-0 down to these boys there will be no
The Warriors are boosted by the returning Brian
Carney and Danny Sculthorpe but Paul Johnson misses out.
Carney's return means Kevin Brown drops to the
bench. I don't think that's a bad move for this game. With an
inexperienced centre pairing in Sean O'Loughlin and Martin Aspinwall we
need Carney in there but Brown can make an impact off the bench if
Sculthorpe has been quite remarkable this season, as have all our
experienced props to be fair. The trio of O'Connor, Scully and Craig
Smith have stepped up a gear or two and really led by example. Let's
hope the three of them take the Bull by the horns in this match! If they
do we'll have a good chance of victory!
Bradford welcome back veteran dummy spitter, sorry, hooker James
Lowes back after he was rested against Warrington last week. Lesley
Vianikolo also returns but there's good news, Michael Withers misses
out. He always seems to scores against us so is absence is a blessing.
Stuart Fielden is also an absentee.
Finally pre match entertainment at Odsal on Saturday is based on the
movie musical "Grease". It's not my cup of tea personally, I prefer the
pub, but why can't Wigan make the effort to entertain fans pre match
like Bradford do?
There is also a Junior Academy match between the sides as a curtain
raiser. The Under 18s game kicks off at 3:40pm.
Opposition One to Watch
is Bradford's joint top try scorer this season with 13 tries.
He needs a try for a total
of 100 points in his Bradford career.
The 6ft 2, 17 stone winger
has scored 24 tries in 38 appearances for the Bulls since joining
them from Canberra at the beginning of 2002.