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25th August 2003: Wigan 26 Bradford 12
Wigan Warriors v Bradford Bulls Tetley's Super League VIII Round 23
Bank Holiday Monday 25th August 2003. KO 5:30pm at JJB Stadium.
Match Report by Superleague.co.uk
Wigan Warriors ended Bradford Bulls' eight-game winning run with a superb 26-12 defeat of the Super League leaders at The JJB Stadium on Monday evening.

The Warriors are now unbeaten in their four games under Mike Gregory, and thoroughly deserved to close the gap on second placed Leeds to three points following an impressive performance.

The were brilliantly led by captain Andy Farrell, and took a 20-0 lead after 56 minutes, showing excellent defence and some great variety in attack.

The first half began at a relentless pace, with Brian Carney having to tap dead a Paul Deacon grubber before the first of four first half decisions for video referee Gerry Kershaw saw Terry Newton denied the opening score.

The Wigan hooker collected his own kick, which had bounced off Tevita Vaikona's chest, but David Hodgson was ruled to have tackled the Tongan in mid-air.

Shontayne Hape saw an effort chalked off at the other end when he was only able to ground the ball on Brian Carney's leg, after a superb steal from Stuart Reardon on Hodgson gave them the field position.

Reardon, Rob Parker and James Lowes combined to push Newton back as he looked to power in at the other end, and the Warriors' pressure finally paid on 23 minutes for the opening points.

Vaikona was unable to collect a Luke Robinson bomb, and the ball bounced up off Brett Dallas' leg for the Australian winger to collect and dive over.

The Bulls were denied for a second time soon afterwards, Martin Aspinwall just managing to kick Lowes' grubber dead before Daniel Gartner grounded.

Hodgson and Radlinski combined to stop Jamie Peacock at the corner as the Bulls continued to be thwarted by Wigan's excellent defence.

And the Warriors further extended their lead going into the break, when Radlinski marked his comeback from three months out with a wrist injury by strolling through unchallenged to collect Robinson's fine reverse kick and score.

Farrell's goal gave them a 10-0 lead at the break, and they withstood more Bulls pressure at the start of the second half before edging away with two quick tries.

A forward pass from Lowes to Lee Radford gave Wigan possession, and Farrell fed Aspinwall from the scrum for the young centre to step across the defensive line on a diagonal run to the corner, touching down in Reardon's last-ditch tackle.

And the efforts of Reardon and Parker to hold up Newton over the line on 52 minutes went unrewarded when Farrell's bullet pass allowed Brian Carney to dive in at the corner, the touchline conversion putting the Warriors 20-0 to the good.

Bradford's response was immediate, with Lowes' short reverse pass sending Joe Vagana charging over from close range, Deacon goaling.

But when Radford and Hape allowed the restart to bounce into touch, Wigan used the possession for Farrell to hand off Lowes and cross for their fifth try and create a 24-6 lead.

Lee Gilmour, who moved out to the wing when Lesley Vainikolo limped off, denied Carney a second at the corner, tackling the Irishman into touch.

And Bradford moved to within 12 points of their hosts with a quarter of an hour remaining, when Peacock's offload allowed Lowes to free Scott Naylor, and Vaikona added the finishing touch, rounding Radlinski before touching down, Deacon goaling.

Aspinwall continued a fine game by breaking clear from inside his own half soon afterwards to relieve the pressure, although the similarly impressive Reardon managed to tackle him at the second attempt.

Farrell hooked an attempted drop goal wide as he looked to edge Wigan further away, but was on target with a penalty with three minutes to go, after Stuart Fielden's swinging arm on him, to seal the win.

"The way they played was sensational and it was a team effort, it has been since Denis (Betts) and I took over," said Warriors coach Mike Gregory.

"I couldn't ask for more than I got today, it wasn't perfect but this team can get better. Don't underestimate us yet!

"They were awesome, we always knew that Bradford would come back at us, but we were strong and defensively we did a professional job. I thought we were smart with the way we played and Andy Farrell was outstanding."

Bulls coach Brian Noble said: "They were great, and the best team on the day.

"I thought we lacked a bit of composure at their end of the field and we didn't quite execute, but full credit to Wigan, they played with a lot of enthusiasm.

"We've got to regroup and kick on from this, there was a lot of effort individually, but we just need to mould it into a team."

Team Sheets

Warriors

Bulls

No.
Player

Pos

No.
Player
1 Kris Radlinski Full Back 17 Stuart Reardon
5 Brian Carney Wing 2 Tevita Viakona
18 Martin Aspinwall Centre 20 Scott Naylor
14 David Hodgson Centre 4 Shontayne Hape
2 Brett Dallas Wing 5 Lesley Vianikolo
15 Sean O'Loughlin Stand Off 3 Leon Pryce
20 Luke Robinson Scrum Half 7 Paul Deacon
10 Craig Smith Prop 8 Joe Vagana
9 Terry Newton Hooker 9 James Lowes
30 Quentin Pongia Prop 10 Paul Anderson
11 Mick Cassidy 2nd Row 11 Daniel Gartner
12 Danny Tickle 2nd Row 12 Jamie Peacock
13 Andy Farrell L.Forward 13 Mike Forshaw
4 Paul Johnson Sub 14 Lee Gilmour
8 Terry O'Connor Sub 18 Lee Radford
16 Danny Sculthorpe Sub 27 Rob Parker
23 Gareth Hock Sub 29 Stuart Fielden
Score Sheet
Wigan Warriors 26-12 Bradford Bulls

Tries (5):
Brett Dallas
Kris Radlinski
Martin Aspinwall
Brian Carney
Andy Farrell

Tries (2):
Joe Vagana
Tevita Viakona

Goals:
Andy Farrell 3/6

Goals:
Paul Deacon 2/2
Score Sheet
22mins: 36 Wigan 04 Bradford 00 Try: Brett Dallas
- Wigan 04 Bradford 00 A.Farrell Missed Conversion (0/1)
37mins:29 Wigan 08 Bradford 00 Try: Kris Radlinski
- Wigan 10 Bradford 00 Conversion: Andy Farrell (1/2)
Half Time Wigan Warriors 10 Bradford Bulls 00
46mins:26 Wigan 14 Bradford 00 Try: Martin Aspinwall
- Wigan 14 Bradford 00 A.Farrell Missed Conversion (1/3)
52mins:30 Wigan 18 Bradford 00 Try: Brian Carney
- Wigan 20 Bradford 00 Conversion: Andy Farrell (2/4)
56mins:12 Wigan 20 Bradford 04 Try: Joe Vagana
- Wigan 20 Bradford 06 Conversion: Paul Deacon (1/1)
58mins:41 Wigan 24 Bradford 06 Try: Andy Farrell
- Wigan 24 Bradford 06 A.Farrell Missed Conversion (2/5)
65mins:31 Wigan 24 Bradford 10 Try: Tevita Viakona
- Wigan 24 Bradford 12 Conversion: Paul Deacon (2/2)
77mins:47 Wigan 26 Bradford 12 Penalty Goal: Andy Farrell (3/6)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 26 Bradford Bulls 12
Match Info

Match Attendance: 14,714
Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens)
Cherry and White.co.uk Star Man: Andy Farrell

Alternative Match Reports
Wigan gifted two points, or were they? - Bradford rlfans.com
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