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27th August 2000: Wigan 20 Bradford 19

Wigan Warriors v Bradford Bulls - Tetley's Super League V Round 25
Sunday 27th August 2000. Kick Off 6:35pm at JJB Stadium

Wigan captain Andy Farrell kicked the Super League leaders to a famous victory in a dramatic clash of the titans.

The Warriors had trailed from the first minute, but a try from full-back Kris Radlinski in the very last seconds brought them to within a point and Farrell kept his nerve amid unbelievable tension to land the angled conversion and send a JJB Stadium record crowd of 17,737 into raptures.

Bradford, forced to play the last five minutes with 11 men following the sin-binning of two players, are now out of the reckoning for top spot. They are four points behind Wigan with just three matches of the regular season to go.

The Bulls stunned the Warriors with a terrific early onslaught and then tackled themselves to a standstill but ultimately paid the price for indiscipline, with Scott Naylor sin-binned for taking out Jason Robinson off the ball and Stuart Spruce following him for laying on in the tackle.

Wigan looked down and out as they trailed 19-2 seven minutes into the second half but they set up a heart-stopping finish with tries from Terry Newton and Denis Betts.

Bradford had made a dream start with two tries in the first six minutes, but there was little hint of the drama to come.

Spectators had barely taken their seats when the Bulls loose forward Brad Mackay sent in winger Leon Pryce to punish Radlinski's rare failure to deal with Henry Paul's 'bomb'.

There was still an air of expectancy when Bradford struck again, this time the Warriors defence opening up invitingly for acting captain James Lowes to go over after working a seemingly innocuous run-around with Brian McDermott.

Lowes was also held on his back, and second rower Jamie Peacock lost the ball trying to finish off a storming run.

But, after their early attacking sparkle, Bradford were forced to show their defensive mettle as Wigan hit back in rip-roaring fashion.

Farrell pulled two points back with a penalty after Paul Anderson was caught ball-stealing, and the visitors were three times forced to drop out from their own line as the Warriors stepped up the tempo.

The exchanges - reminiscent of that epic 12-12 draw on the same ground two months ago - were fierce, occasionally brutal, and Lowes and Wigan prop Tony Mestrov were both sent to the sin bin after coming to blows in an off-the-ball incident.

Wigan missed several chances to close the gap, most notably when centre Gary Connolly dropped Farrell's pass with the tryline beckoning - and Bradford made the most of their good fortune, with Paul adding a penalty and scrum-half Paul Deacon putting over an injury-time drop goal to extend the lead.

Former Wigan favourite Paul had been relatively subdued but he came into his own seven minutes into the second half when his trademark pirouette dumped Farrell unceremoniously on his backside to create the gap - and Naylor, another former Wigan player, was in support to grab his side's third try.

Paul's third goal made it 19-2. But Wigan hit back immediately when former Australian Test centre Steve Renouf burst clear to set up a try for hooker Newton, and Farrell's conversion cut the deficit to 11 points going into the final quarter.

Bradford's magnificent defence looked capable of holding on. But the loss of Naylor and Spruce left them hopelessly outnumbered, and Wigan cleverly worked the ball out wide for Renouf to make the decisive break for Radlinski to finish off.

Team Sheets

- Wigan Position Bradford -
1 Kris Radlinski Full Back Stuart Spruce 29
18 Wes Davies Winger Tevita Vaikona 2
3 Steve Renouf Centre Justin Brooker 14
4 Gary Connolly Centre Scott Naylor 20
5 Jason Robinson Winger Leon Pryce 3
13 Andy Farrell Stand Off Henry Paul 6
7 Willie Peters Scrum Half Paul Deacon 7
8 Terry O'Connor Prop Paul Anderson 10
9 Terry Newton Hooker James Lowes 9
10 Neil Cowie Prop Brian McDermott 22
11 Mick Cassidy 2nd Row Jamie Peacock 19
12 Denis Betts 2nd Row Mike Forshaw 12
14 Lee Gilmour L.Forward Brad Mackay 13
-
6 Tony Smith Substitute Nathan McAvoy 4
17 Tony Mestrov Substitute David Boyle 11
19 Chris Chester Substitute Hudson Smith 15
23 Brady Malam Substitute Stuart Fielden 29

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 20 --- Bradford Bulls 19
Tries (3):
Terry Newton
Denis Betts
Kris Radlinski
--- Tries (3):
Leon Pryce
James Lowes
Scott Naylor
Goals:
Andy Farrell 4/4
--- Goals:
Henry Paul 3/3
--- --- Drop Goals:
Paul Deacon 1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

01mins:03 Wigan 00 Bradford 04 Try: Leon Pryce
- Wigan 00 Bradford 04 H.Paul Missed Conversion (0/1)
04mins:40 Wigan 00 Bradford 08 Try: James Lowes
- Wigan 00 Bradford 10 Conversion: Henry Paul (1/2)
09mins:40 Wigan 02 Bradford 10 Penalty Goal: Andy Farrell (1/1)
30mins:51 Wigan 02 Bradford 12 Penalty Goal: Henry Paul (2/3)
32mins:01 Bradford Sin Bin James Lowes (Fighting)
32mins:01 Wigan Sin Bin Tony Mestrov (Fighting)
36mins:21 Wigan 02 Bradford 13 Drop Goal: Paul Deacon
Half Time Wigan Warriors 02 Bradford Bulls 13
47mins:34 Wigan 02 Bradford 17 Try: Scott Naylor
- Wigan 02 Bradford 19 Conversion: Henry Paul (3/4)
51mins:12 Wigan 06 Bradford 19 Try: Terry Newton
- Wigan 08 Bradford 19 Conversion: Andy Farrell (2/2)
69mins:20 Wigan 12 Bradford 19 Try: Denis Betts
- Wigan 14 Bradford 19 Conversion: Andy Farrell (3/3)
74mins:27 Bradford Sin Bin Scott Naylor (Obstruction)
75mins:19 Bradford Sin Bin Stuart Spruce (Interference)
80mins:00 Wigan 18 Bradford 19 Try: Kris Radlinski
- Wigan 20 Bradford 19 Conversion: Andy Farrell (4/4)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 20 Bradford Bulls 19

Other Information

Attendance: 17,737
Referee: Russell Smith

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