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