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7th October 2000: Wigan 40 Bradford 12

Wigan Warriors v Bradford Bulls - Tetley's Super League V Elimination Play Off
Saturday 7th October 2000. Kick Off 6:05pm at JJB Stadium

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 Withers.

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 hat-trick.

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.

Team Sheets

- Wigan Position Bradford -
1 Kris Radlinski Full Back Stuart Spruce 28
2 Brett Dallas Winger Tevita Vaikona 2
4 Gary Connolly Centre Scott Naylor 20
3 Steve Renouf Centre Michael Withers 5
5 Jason Robinson Winger Leon Pryce 3
6 Tony Smith Stand Off Henry Paul 6
7 Willie Peters Scrum Half Robbie Paul 1
8 Terry O'Connor Prop Brian McDermott 22
9 Terry Newton Hooker James Lowes 9
10 Neil Cowie Prop Paul Anderson 10
11 Mick Cassidy 2nd Row Jamie Peacock 19
12 Denis Betts 2nd Row Stuart Fielden 29
13 Andy Farrell L.Forward Mike Forshaw 12
14 Lee Gilmour Substitute Nathan McAvoy 4
17 Tony Mestrov Substitute Paul Deacon 7
19 Chris Chester Substitute David Boyle 11
23 Brady Malam Substitute Hudson Smith 15

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 40 --- Bradford Bulls 12
Willie Peters
Jason Robinson 2
Gary Connolly
Brett Dallas 3
--- Tries:
Scott Naylor
Paul Anderson
Andy Farrell 6
--- Goals:
Henry Paul 2

Other Information

Attendance: 14,620
Referee: Russell Smith

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