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Match Report: Bradford 22 Wigan 26
Posted by Bilko on May 23 2011 - 00:10

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Bradford Bulls v Wigan Warriors Carnegie Challenge Cup Round 5
Sunday 22nd May 2011. Kick Off 3:30pm at Odsal Stadium.

Match Report

Well the fact it was blowing a gale didn't help this contest what so ever but overall I thought it was a poor display from Wigan. Bradford fans meanwhile are hailing this loss as their best performance of the season and seem very proud of that effort.

I think it's fair to say that the Bulls defended far better than most would have expected, given their recent form, so having played poor I think we should be pleased to have gotten through to the Quarter Finals, which stupidly don't take place till mid July!

I'm noticing that Bulls coach Mick Potter claims the red card to Gareth Raynor was a "turning point" in this match. Personally I'm not so sure, because only one of Wigan's five tries came whilst we had a man advantage and Bradford claimed three of their four tries whilst they were a man short.

From a Wigan point of view, I don't think the red card changed the game at all and that is disappointing. We struggled to create anything after Sam Tomkins left the field and I thought the pack lacked punch all afternoon. Just a really poor display I thought, but we got the win and I think that's all that matters in cup rugby.

Coach Michael Maguire made a couple of changes with Darrell Goulding replacing the injured George Carmont at left centre and Paul Prescott returning to the bench at the expense of Jack Hughes.

It looked like Wigan had got off to a great start and they should have taken the lead after just 80 seconds of the contest. Ryan Hoffman's pass sent Pat Richards over in the left corner but you have to credit Michael Platt who dislodged the bal before he could ground it.

After that, the early stages turned into a midfield tussle with very little attacking action. That was until the 10th minute when, kicking into the gale, Sam Tomkins fumbled a last tackle kick from Kyle Briggs. Two passes later, Elliott Whitehead was over for the score, which was given by the video referee. Patrick Ah Van converted to make it 6-0.

The game continued to be bogged down in midfield with very little happening until the 19th minute. It was possibly Wigan's first real attack since that no try early on but a familiar move got Pat over this time. Mike McIlorum received the play the ball under the posts, he threw left to Thomas Leuluai, who in turn found Sean O'Loughlin. You know the rest, he loves his long cut out passes and he by-passed two attackers to create the overlap for the winger, i.e Pat. to score from. Easy touch down, but in the wind it was not an easy conversion and his kick went wide.

A knock on from McIlorum put Wigan on the back foot straight after that try but although Bradford forced a drop out they couldn't claim a try. A few minutes later, Wigan themselves forced a drop out, after a towering bomb from Richards was allowed to bounce, but Bradford themselves survived that pressure.

It was at this point that coach Maguire switched things with Paul Deacon coming off the bench to replace Mike McIlorum and thus Leuluai switched to hooker. Within two minutes of that change, Wigan took the lead for the first time.

Deacon's pass found Brett Finch who in turn sent Ryan Hoffman on the half break. He was well tackled by Jamie Langley but got a beautiful offload away to send Sam Tomkins away. Sam's nifty footwork completely mugged three Bulls defenders but in the process of scoring he was hit high on the cheek by a desperate Gareth Raynor.

Raynor's swinging arm had knocked Sam out cold and he couldn't really complain at being given the red card by referee Steve Ganson. I do think further suspension would be harsh, I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt that it was a mistimed rather than a malicious challenge, but what baffles me is why a rare 8 point try wasn't awarded? This is what the RFL's rules state on that issue.....

"If a player fouls an opponent who is touching down for a try, a penalty kick at goal shall be taken from in front of the goal posts after the attempt to convert the try."

If that is not "fouling an opponent who is touching down for a try", what is?

Like I said, the challenge had knocked Sam unconscious and ended his afternoon but that still didn't stop some opposition fans on social media accusing him of faking it! Seriously.......go to your room and shut up!

The game was drifting towards half time but Ganson piped up again four minutes before the break to produce another card. This time it was a yellow for Jeff Lima for apparent "contact with head" although you can't see anything on the TV replays. This was given on the advice of touch judge Tim Roby and it was right in front of him so you have to take his word. Wigan had been warned twice that action was on the way so it shouldn't really have been a surprise.

Although no further scoring would take place before half time, Lima's yellow card still meant the first 6 minutes of the second half would be a 12 v 12 contest and it was during this period (not whilst it was 13 v 12) that Wigan won the game I think. They scored two quick back to back tries to put themselves 22-6 ahead.

First, on 43 minutes, Finch did well to trap a kick from Kyle Briggs with his feet. He scooped up and race 80 metres unopposed for the third try of his Wigan career so far. Then, on just the third tackle after the restart, Wigan went left with Finch, Richards and Hoffman combining to send Darrell Goulding on the half break. Ball in one hand and heading into touch, he brilliantly offloaded to send Richards clear under the posts from thirty metres out. Pat took the piss out of the lazy last defender by rounding him off to touch down under the sticks. He converted both those tries for the 22-6 lead.

Now at this point your thinking Lima is about to return, we've a 22-6 lead and now will have a man advantage. It was pretty reasonable to expect Wigan to just burst clear now and rack up an easy win in the end. Didn't happen though. Credit to Bradford, they kept going but Wigan never really kicked on and, like I said earlier, that was disappointing.

What gave Bradford the hope of a comeback was the fact they hit back within two minutes. Not helped by the wind, Wigan had let the ball bounce dead and Bradford marched up field with the help of a penalty after the drop out. Patrick Ah Van claimed a try in the right corner, after a good offload from Ben Jeffries, then he converted from the sideline to make it 22-12. Wigan could have hit straight back themselves but although Chris Tuson touched the ball down, it had clearly gone dead.

After that Wigan had opportunities to kill the game but really lacked patience and were creating too many errors. I still thought 22-12 was a comfortable winning position for us but all that changed when Bradford claimed another try on 64 minutes.

Nice try as well. Kyle Briggs put a lovely grubber in towards the posts and Shad Royston touched down. Easy conversion for Ah Van left the score at just 22-18 to Wigan with 15 to play.

This game was now massively in the balance and for the next ten minutes or so the sides just traded possession with very few attacking chances but a Bradford error on half way helped Wigan towards the winning score.

Wigan had ground their way towards the line and had reached the last tackle but they got a "back to one" after Jeffries raced out to try and block a kick that never materialised. From that, Liam Farrell put in a couple of good hit ups before being sent in by Finch at close range. Pat's conversion missed but an 8 point lead with five minutes to go was always too much, unless we were going to get the irony of all ironies with an 8 point Bradford try - you just never know with Ganson in the middle.

Bradford did claim a consolation try but it came too late, with just 21 seconds remaining, as Ah Van scored his second. Debatable whether he grounded it, but the video refs always give those finger tip efforts. He hit another sweet conversion off the touchline but the hooter sounded before the game restarted and Wigan had hung on to a 26-22 win.

I'll finish with this final point. It was a poor display, but it's worth noting that we only received 2 penalties all match. Great Bradford discipline, and yes we had a man advantage for 40 minutes of the contest, but I'm not convinced many sides could win games receiving that few amount of penalties. Same against Saints last month. Just 1 penalty received and we still won. Salford away, three penalties only, still won. Saints in Cardiff, also just three penalties recieved, we didn't lose! So that has to be pleasing that we are not having to rely on penalties to help us win games. Ok it might not be pretty at times but this is a far cry from previous years were we really needed penalties to help us in many, many matches. It's another great facet of improvement under Michael Maguire.

Reaction to the Action

Michael Maguire: "Just to get the win was good for us. It was definitely not a performance we're capable of but credit has to go to Bradford who came out and performed. I thought in the second half they controlled the game better than we did, particularly when they had the wind behind them. Even though they had 12 men, I thought they scrambled pretty hard. We had to dig in there. I'm just happy to get away with a win. (Gareth Raynor) didn't miss (Sam Tomkins) so I thought it was a fair call. (He) took a fair knock and was definitely out when the doctor got to him and he's still quite groggy. But I'm hoping he'll be okay for next week. We'll assess that as the week goes by."

Bradford Bulls Coach Mick Potter: "It was a big step in the right direction. We need to back this up next week. Our execution was a lot better and I thought overall we worked better as a team. I'll go through the appropriate channels (in regards to the red card. I thought he was trying to stop the try. It was without a doubt the turning point, that was plain to see. Twelve v 13 in the second half was tough. It wasn't impossible but it was tougher than it would normally be."

Team Sheets

- Bradford Position Wigan 1
25 Shad Royston Full Back Sam Tomkins 1
19 Gareth Raynor Winger Josh Charnley 25
1 Michael Platt Centre Joel Tomkins 12
12 Elliott Whitehead Centre Darrell Goulding 2
5 Patrick Ah Van Winger Pat Richards 5
32 Kyle Briggs Stand Off Brett Finch 17
33 Ben Jeffries Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
10 Andy Lynch Prop Andy Coley 10
9 Heath L'Estrange Hooker Mike McIlorum 9
15 Bryn Hargreaves Prop Lee Mossop 21
11 Olivier Elima 2nd Row Ryan Hoffman 16
17 Ian Sibbitt 2nd Row Liam Farrell 22
13 Jamie Langley L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
14 Matt Diskin Substitute Paul Deacon 6
16 Craig Kopczak Substitute Paul Prescott 14
23 Tom Olbison Substitute Jeff Lima 15
29 Tom Burgess Substitute Chris Tuson 23
- Mick Potter Coach Michael Maguire -

Score Sheet

Bradford Bulls 22 --- Wigan Warriors 26
Tries (4):
Elliott Whitehead
Patrich Ah Van 2
Shad Royston
--- Tries (5):
Pat Richards 2
Sam Tomkins
Brett Finch
Liam Farrell
Patrick Ah Van 3/4
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 3/5

Scoring and Incident Pattern

09mins:55 Bradford 04 Wigan 00 Try: Elliott Whitehead
- Bradford 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: Patrick Ah Van (1/1)
18mins:47 Bradford 06 Wigan 04 Try: Pat Richards
- Bradford 06 Wigan 04 P.Richards Missed Conversion (0/1)
30mins:38 Bradford 06 Wigan 08 Try: Sam Tomkins
30mins:42 Bradford Red Card Gareth Raynor (High Tackle on S.Tomkins)
- Bradford 06 Wigan 10 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (1/2)
36mins:06 Wigan Sin Bin Jeff Lima (Contact with Head after Team Warning)
Half Time Bradford Bulls 6 Wigan Warriors 10
42mins:42 Bradford 06 Wigan 14 Try: Brett Finch
- Bradford 06 Wigan 16 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/3)
45mins:55 Bradford 06 Wigan 20 Try: Pat Richards
- Bradford 06 Wigan 22 Conversion: Pat Richards (3/4)
47mins:56 Bradford 10 Wigan 22 Try: Patrick Ah Van
- Bradford 12 Wigan 22 Conversion: Patrick Ah Van (2/2)
63mins:51 Bradford 16 Wigan 22 Try: Shad Royston
- Bradford 18 Wigan 22 Conversion: Patrick Ah Van (3/3)
74mins:24 Bradford 18 Wigan 26 Try: Liam Farrell
- Bradford 18 Wigan 26 P.Richards Missed Conversion (3/5)
79mins:39 Bradford 22 Wigan 26 Try: Patrick Ah Van (2)
- Bradford 22 Wigan 26 P.Ah Van Missed Conversion (3/4)
Full Time Bradford Bulls 22 Wigan Warriors 26

Video Highlights

Top 5 Wigan Players as voted on our Message Board

Man of the Match: Brett Finch
2nd: Sean O'Loughlin 3rd: Ryan Hoffman 4th: Lee Mossop 5th: Pat Richards


Steve Ganson

Penalties Conceded

Bradford 2 Wigan 9

Match Attendance

5,828 (at least 2,000 Wigan fans)


Dry and Sunny but Gale Force Winds.

Challenge Cup Round 5 Results

Fri 20 May Leeds Rhinos 40 Harlequins 20 7,147
Fri 20 May Salford City Reds 0 Hull Kingston Rovers 25 2,087
Fri 20 May Warrington Wolves 112 Swinton Lions 0 4,440
Sat 21 May Widnes Vikings 26 Hull FC 50 3,387
Sat 21 May Wakefield 18 Castleford 20 (Golden Point ET) 6,604
Sun 22 May Huddersfield Giants 30 Catalan Dragons 16 3,098
Sun 22 May St Helens 70 Featherstone Rovers 0 2,905
Sun 22 May Bradford Bulls 22 Wigan Warriors 26 5,828

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