Wigan brought the curtain down on
Matthew Elliott's rein as Bradford coach in ruthless fashion as they set
up a derby clash with reigning champions St Helens in next Saturday's
Super League Grand Final.
Former Australian captain Mal Meninga,
Elliott's new boss at Canberra Raiders, watched on at the JJB Stadium as
the Bulls head coach's four-year tenure ended in rare ignominious failure
as his side became the latest victims of a bizarre play-off series.
The Warriors, humiliated 54-16 a week ago, were much more like their
old selves as they ran in seven tries, five of them from wingers Brett
Dallas and Jason Robinson.
Little went right for Bradford, who lost influential loose forward Brad
Mackay through illness before kick-off and were forced to use three
different full-backs because of injury to Stuart Spruce and Michael
The visitors were level at 6-6 until Robinson struck for his first try
on 17 minutes and then Wigan cut loose, running in three tries in one
devastating 10-minute spell.
Bradford simply could not live with Wigan's crunching defence and
creative flair which must have impressed the legendary Meninga, who was
among the 14,620 crowd.
The home side drew first blood after only six minutes when scrum-half
Willie Peters, shortly to return to Australia, followed up his own grubber
kick to touch down after Spruce lost his footing on the greasy surface.
The Bulls were level five minutes later when centre Scott Naylor raced
onto a perfectly-judged kick from hooker James Lowes to grab a try, but
the game appeared to change when Spruce had to be helped off after being
hurt in a tackle on 15 minutes.
Robinson, hoping to end his Wigan career with a Grand Final appearance,
restored his side's advantage following a break by full-back Kris
Radlinski and the Warriors never looked back.
Skipper Andy Farrell, surprisingly restored to his loose forward role,
slipped a tackle by substitute Nathan McAvoy to set up the position for
centre Gary Connolly to touch down and then paved the way for the first
two of Dallas' three tries.
Farrell produced a magnificent pass off balance to get the former North
Sydney speed merchant over for his first and then put up a high kick for
Dallas to pounce for his second.
And it was Dallas who put the tie beyond doubt four minutes into the
second half when he took a pass out of the tackle from substitute prop
Brady Malam, another casualty of Wigan's rebuilding, to complete his
Farrell's fifth goal took him past Frano Botica's 1,931-point haul and
into second place behind the immortal Jim Sullivan in Wigan's all-time
list of scorers - and he added a sixth to convert Robinson's second try.
Bradford were well beaten but at least they had the final say when prop
Paul Anderson crashed over for a consolation try, to which Henry Paul
added his second goal, after Wigan had been reduced to 12 men by the
sin-binning of Mick Cassidy for a professional foul.