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Match Preview: Bradford (H) - 29th June 2012 at DW Stadium
Posted by cherryandwhite on June 28 2012 - 03:00

Wigan Warriors v Bradford Bulls - Stobart Super League XVII Round 19.
Friday 29th June 2012. Kick Off 8:00pm at DW Stadium.

Match Preview

Headline: "Bradford in dire distress"

Article contents: "News reached yesterday that Bradford will probably have to disband in the next few weeks because of financial difficulties."

Newspaper asks: "Is Rugby League at death's door?"

Sorry times at Bradford. Trouble is, these above headlines are not from this year, but from the Guardian Newspaper back in December 1963! This isn't the first time financial problems have hit the Odsal club.

It was a similar story back then as well. Falling attendances had led to a debt that the club couldn't pay off. ?10,000 (approx ?168,000 today) was needed back then, but they couldn't find it and went into liquidation after playing just 13 matches of the 1963-1964 season.

However "with the help of other Rugby League clubs, supporters and the RFL", a sum of ?5,000 (approx ?84,000 today) was raised to help form a new Bradford club which restarted playing in 1964-1965 and is the same club that is now in trouble today.

All reads like complete deja vu 49 years on doesn't it? It is exactly the same scenario.  

Now first of all, you have to have sympathy for the die hard supporters at Odsal, the innocent victims in all this. I commented last week how, having not been to France, a 24 day break between fixtures to attend was difficult for me, so I dread to think how having no games at all would be like.

But the crux of the problem in 1963 was falling attendances and that seems to be like it  has been the problem this time as well. Yes their were other factors, like the Iestyn Harris court case, but bottom line was Bradford's average attendance fell by over 5,000 between 2005 and 2010 and that must have been a huge financial hole to fill.

Granted the average attendance rose by 5,702 back up to 13,967 in 2011 but we all that was due to the "pledge 10,000" scheme they did. The scheme basically was that if 10,000 fans "pledged" to buy a season ticket, they'd all get them for just ?60! The more pledges that got made, the cheaper it became.

Baring a mind the 2010 price was ?160, that was a saving of 63% off. Great for the fans but looking back now in hindsight, whilst boosting the crowd figure was great, it had zero impact on the field and barely made Odsal the "fortress again" that the marketing for the scheme was focusing on. It also to me seems like it was a completely mad idea from a income point of view? Especially now in hindsight.

I know seats are more expensive that terraces and away fans paid full whack but basic maths here. For example you have 13,967 (their 2011 average) paying ?60 each. That offers a return of ?838,020. Or you have 8,265 (their 2010 average) paying ?160 each, that returns ?1,322,400. So they cut their gate income by roughly 37%. I can't claim to know full stories here, and these figures I know are very rough, but cutting your game income like that seems totally mad and perhaps goes a hell of a long way to explaining how Bradford can have such a huge shortfall at the moment?

This year they did a "Pledge 12,000" with ?75 terrace season tickets on offer. Considering I paid ?216 for my Wigan one its a brilliant price for the supporter, but from a business point of view it's looks clear suicide to me, especially if you don't (and Bradford clearly don't) have a rich owner to soak up the losses.

Again I'm no business man here but for all that, I still don't get where the money is going. I mean how can the ?500,000 desperately raised in April have disappeared so quickly? I could understand them getting into a mess if they had the team of 1996-2005 ish with a ton of star assets on huge wages but, lets be honest, the Bradford squad has been pretty garbage since about 2008.

I'm sat here writing this looking at Bradford's 19 man squad (see below) and wondering if they have any playing assets at all? Talk of John Bateman being signed up elsewhere, but he's 18 and has played just 15 Super League matches for them. Might well be a quality youngster for all I know but If that's their best asset then it says an awful lot for their squad and backs up my comment about their squad being pretty garbage I think.

I mean, I'll be brutally honest gere, I think that's a squad that is over achieving this season in currently being around the play off spots. I say that because their last five away games see them visit Wigan, Warrington, Leeds, Huddersfield and Catalan (five of the current top six). In total 7 of their last 9 games are against teams in play off positions and I'd expect the majority of those results to see them bottom out well short of the top 8, with or without a potential points deduction.

Now they might well make a mug of me and come here and rally to an almighty upset in these difficult circumstances but it won't change anything. I expect we'll end up with a new Bradford club taking over like we did in 1963/64, but to me it might just well paper over the cracks. I mean the fans clearly voted with their feet between 2008 and 2010, so what's the optimism that they will stick around when the squad is ripped apart at the end of this season and costs are cut across the board whilst surely season ticket prices have to rise again? Also, Odsal is becoming more and more depressing and dilapidated by the season. That's probably the biggest thing really. The new stadium expected in 2000/2001ish never materialised and the club never recovered from that and I think it'll be donkey years before they rise again to be blunt. The days of "Bull Mania" and going to Odsal in massive fear of being barrelled over into defeat are long, long gone.

I really do wish those die hard Bradford supporters well though. Like I said, they are the innocent victims and it's always been a friendly club to visit. I really hope they travel over here in great numbers for what could be the clubs last game. I don't think it will be because even if the current "Bulls" fold, they will return like in 1964 but whether that's in Super League or not, only time will tell.

What this whole mess does confirm is that the RFL's licence system is surely now totally discredited, especially with them becoming the third club in less than two years to enter administration. In fairness the current recession doesn't help but the crux of the problem is that a 14 team Super League isn't working.

Daniel Anderson talked about his feeling that Super League had declined in standards since he left St Helens at the end of 2008 and he is spot on. Again this year the bottom end of the Super League offers teams that aren't competing. Widnes came here on Monday and were well beaten by a Wigan side that were in training mode to my eyes.

Again simple facts - In 2008 (the last year we had a 12 team league) Castleford were bottom of the table with a points difference of minus 276. Second Bottom Hull with -161. Last year we had points differences at the bottom of -330 (Crusaders), -427 (Harlequins) and -504 (Wakefield). This years will be just as bad or worse. We clearly have to go back to at least a 12 team league, sooner rather than later.

Anyway, what will be at Odsal will be, for now we have a game to consider as Wigan look to go 14 wins in a row. This is now our best run of wins since we won 20 in a row between 2nd April and 24th September in 1995. The last time we won 14 in a row within one season though was back in 1986-1987 when we won the last 18 games of that season to take out the league title and Premiership Trophy.

I obviously expect a Wigan win again but if Bradford fire on emotion, and Josh has an off day with conversions, you just never know! It's the only way I can see us losing at the moment to be honest. We are now in tick over mode I think ahead of the Cup Semi Final and I expect us to tick over with another professional job here. We shall see.

19 Man Squads

Wigan
IN:l Ben Flower, Jack Murphy
OUT:l Paul Prescott, Tom Spencer
Fulll19:l

Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding, George Carmont, Brett Finch, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Gareth Hock, Sean O'Loughlin, Liam Farrell, Chris Tuson, Epalahame Lauaki, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Jack Hughes, Logan Tomkins, Dom Crosby, Jack Murphy, Rhodri Lloyd.

Bradford
IN:l Chev Walker
OUT:l Danny Addy
Fulll19:l

Brett Kearney, Keith Lulia, Chev Walker, Ben Jeffries, Luke Gale, Heath L'Estrange, Olivier Elima, Elliott Whitehead, Jamie Langley, Bryn Hargreaves, Manase Manuokafoa, Shaun Ainscough, Tom Olbison, Tom Burgess, Jarrod Sammut, Adam O'Brien, John Bateman, Michael Platt, Karl Pryce.

Match Referee

Tim Roby (Leyland) - Age 22
First Pro Game: Hunslet 0 Workington 50 - 27th July 2008
First Super League Game: Wakefield 52 Harlequins 32 - 10th April 2011
First Wigan Game: Wigan 52 Barrow 0 - 8th May 2011 (Challenge Cup)

Wigan's Record when this referee is appointed

Wigan have Won 1 and Lost 0 from 1 appointment.
This Season: First Appointment this season.

Video Referee

N/A

Current Super League XVII League Positions

  Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1st Wigan Warriors 18 15 0 3 680 279 +401 30
9th Bradford Bulls 18 9 1 8 385 454 -68 19

Wigan v Bradford Player Stat Leaders

- Wigan Bradford League Leader
Top Try Scorer Josh Charnley 25

Brett Kearney 8

Josh Charnley 25
Top Goal Scorer Josh Charnley 46

Luke Gale 29

Danny Brough 77
Top Points Scorer Josh Charnley 192

Jarrod Sammut 60

Josh Charnley 192
Top Try Assister Sam Tomkins 21

Ben Jeffries 9

Rangi Chase 24
Top Metre Maker SamlTomkinsl2364m

BrynlHargreavesl1632m

JameslRobyl2549m
Top Ball Carrier Mike McIlorum 321

Heath L'Estrange 280

James Roby 543
Top Tackle Buster Sam Tomkins 111

Brett Kearney 34

Sam Tomkins 111
Top Clean Breaker Sam Tomkins 26

Elliott Whitehead 12

Sam Tomkins 26
Top Offloader Gareth Hock 43

Olivier Elima 19

Joel Moon 44
ToplAttackinglKicker Brett Finch 77

Ben Jeffries 80

Michael Dobson 127
Top DH Runner Mike McIlorum 296

Heath L'Estrange 249

James Roby 488
Top Tackler Mike McIlorum 531

Jamie Langley 494

DannylWashbrookl704
Top Marker Tackler Mike McIlorum 85

Jamie Langley 91

Danny Houghton 124
Worst Miss Tackler Mike McIlorum 37

Elliott Whitehead 50

Dave Allen 52
Most Errors Brett Finch 21

Elliott Whitehead 21

Greg Eden 38
Most Pens Conceded Mike McIlorum 19

Olivier Elima 12

Steve Pickersgill 24

Wigan v Bradford Team Stats Match Ups

- Wigan B'ford League Best League Worst
Tries 122

67

Wigan 122

Widnes 47

 Tries Against 48

80

Wigan 48

Widnes 144

Points For 680

279

Wigan 680

Widnes 273

Points Against 279

454

Wigan 279

Widnes 812

Goal Kick Success 68.6%

79.4%

Hull FC 84.7%

Salford 68.3%

Metres 25528m

22772m

St Helens 26363m

Widnes 19070m

Ball Carries 3910

3655

St Helens 4091

Widnes 3072

Metres Per Ball Carry 6.52m

6.23m

Hudd'sfield 7.06m

Wakefield 6.03m

Tackle Busts 529

330

Wigan 529

Widnes 269

Clean Breaks 166

82

Wigan 166

Widnes 65

Offloads 162

173

Salford 274

London 122

Attacking Kicks 165

202

London 232

Salford 138

Runs from Dummy Half 604

718

St Helens 782

Salford 434

Tackles 4959

5440

Wakefield 5648

Catalan 4855

Marker Tackles 797

777

Warrington 856

Catalan 584

Missed Tackles 272

433

Wigan 272

Widnes 582

Errors 183

270

St Helens 177

Warrington 270

Penalties Conceded 133

144

Huddersfield 128

Widnes 184

Super League Form Table Last Six Matches

- Team W D L F A Diff Pts Form
1 Wigan Warriors 6 0 0 250 84 +166 12
2 Warrington Wolves 5 0 1 233 95 +138 10
3 St Helens 4 1 1 189 100 +89 9
4 Hull Kingston Rovers 4 0 2 201 139 +62 8
5 Catalan Dragons 4 0 2 172 152 +20 8
6 Wakefield Wildcats 3 0 3 166 182 -16 8
7 Bradford Bulls 3 1 2 151 191 -40 7
8 Leeds Rhinos 3 0 3 165 202 -37 6
9 Hull FC 2 1 3 144 154 -10 5
10 Salford City Reds 2 1 3 152 174 -22 5
11 Castleford Tigers 2 0 4 162 230 -68 4
12 Huddersfield Giants 1 0 5 160 177 -17 2
13 London Broncos 1 0 5 96 179 -83 2
14. Widnes Vikings 1 0 5 112 250 -138 2

Super League Era Head to Head Record including Play Offs

Overall Played 44 Wigan 25 Wins Bradford 18 Wins 1 Draw
At Wigan Played 21 Wigan 16 Wins Bradford 4 Wins 1 Draw

Last Six Meetings in Wigan

Date Opposition Report
25th Feb 2005 Wigan Warriors 60 Bradford Bulls 12 Click Here
3rd Sept 2010 Wigan Warriors 34 Bradford Bulls 12 Click Here
7th Mar 2009 Wigan Warriors 44 Bradford Bulls 10 Click Here
1st Mar 2008 Wigan Warriors 28 Bradford Bulls 14 Click Here
6th July 2007 Wigan Warriors 25 Bradford Bulls 18 Click Here
1st Sept 2006 Wigan Warriors 38 Bradford Bulls 16 Click Here

Hot & Cold Try Scoring Streaks

HOT:l JoshlCharnley l 9 Tries in his last 5 appearances.
HOT:l GeorgelCarmont l 7 Tries in his last 5 appearances.
HOT:l SamlTomkins l 7 Tries in his last 7 appearances.
HOT:l AnthonylGelling 2 3 Tries in his last 3 appearances.
HOT:l BrettlFinch 2 3 Tries in his last 3 appearances.
COLD:l EriclLauaki l Never Scored in 17 Wigan appearances so far

Ticket Details

Stand ConAdultsiors Concessions

Springfield (West) Stand - Gold Section

?23 ?17

Springfield (West) Stand - Blue Section

?22 ?16

Billy Boston (East) Stand - Silver Section

?21 ?15
Billy Boston (East) Stand - Red Section ?20 ?14
South Stand ?19 ?13
East Stand - Blocks ES1&2 (Visitors) ?20 ?14
North Stand (Local Businesses) (Local Businesses)

UK TV Coverage

Highlights Sunday 10:00pm
Free to Air Highlights Monday 11:35pm

International TV Coverage (All Times Local)

No Coverage.

Radio Commentary

BBC Radio Manchester (95.1FM) - Part commentary whilst also covering Salford v Warrington.

102.4 Wish FM - Updates Only from Mark Wilson during commentary of St Helens v Hull KR.

Bilko's Statistical prediction.

The stats suggest a Wigan Win by 26 Points.

Weather Forecast

Mainly dry with a possible brief shower. 17?C

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