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Match Report: Bradford 32 Wigan 28
Posted by Bilko on February 24 2007 - 21:06

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Bradford Bulls v Wigan Warriors. Engage Super League XII Round 3.
Saturday 24th February 2007. Kick Off 6:00pm at Odsal Stadium.

Thoughts on the Match

This was a frustrating loss because Wigan should have shown more composure having established an early 10-0 lead.

They need to learn to take control of a match with clever kicking. Here they got excited and errors and poor discipline led to tries against them.

Bradford are no different from last season on that evidence. Yeah they may be top of the table but all their scores tonight came from gifted field position. If we had kept them deep in their own half, they were no threat. Can't remember a single break from the Bulls whilst we on the other hand made two or three good breaks, although we didn't capitalise on most of them. We just kept gifting them sets of six in our own twenty and they punished us every time.

I asked for a good start in the match preview and we got one but so annoying that we didn't build on it.

Credit though that once again we finished a game strongly. At 30-10 last year we'd have collapsed into a 40+ point defeat. Not anymore. We have the fight and the spirit to keep going. Mainly because we have a leader now out on that pitch in the shape of Trent Barrett. He is such a clever player and all the younger players like Gareth Hock, Sean O'Loughlin, Chris Ashton etc will eventually learn a lot from him.

Thomas Leuluai though was less than impressive. Yes he scored his first try for the club and created our opening score but his efforts were so predictable. Nothing special at all. Bit disappointed in him so far.

Shane Millard likewise. He was on the pitch from 22 to 54 minutes and Wigan scored zero points in that time and didn't look like scoring either. With Mick Higham on the pitch Wigan scored 28 points to Bradford's 14. Millard did have less prop power in his defence but we look so much better with Higham on the pitch.

Story of the Match

Wigan got off to a great start with two tries in the opening 13 minutes. They were offloading the ball at will and the passes were sticking.

The first try came in the 4th minute after Glenn Morrison was penalised for an incorrect play the ball. Soon after Bryan Fletcher touched down a grubber kick from Tommy Leuluai. Pat Richards converted - 6-0 Wigan.

Wigan came close to extending their lead on 12 minutes, Richards and Vaealiki combined well down the left and Micky Higham was just held short of the try line.

Soon after our second try came from deep. Sean O'Loughlin broke clear and Chris Ashton, switching to the wing today to replace the absent Mark Calderwood, finished off in the right hand corner. Referee Ashley Klein referred to video referee Ian Smith about possible obstruction but the try was given. Richards missed a difficult conversion - 10-0 Wigan after 15 minutes.

We then demonstrated how you throw away a good lead. Bradford hit us with a quick brace of tries which put them ahead. Both were scored by Lesley Vianikolo. His first came thanks to some great passing out the back door by first David Solomona and then Shontayne Hape. He dived over the line and Paul Deacon's conversion made it 10-6.

Two minutes later and Vianikolo was in again, this time he took O'Loughlin over the try line with him as he touched down in the left corner. Deacon converted off the touchline to make it 12-10 to the Bulls.

More gifted field position allowed Bradford to extend their lead in the 32nd minute. Playing the ball on the right wing, Ben Harris aimed a kick towards the posts. Wigan's defence seemed to be having a kip on a deckchair somewhere because a huge gap allowed Glenn Morrison to challenge Ashton, covering from the wing, for the ball. Ashton swung his boot and missed which allowed Morrison to touch it down for the try. Not sure where Withers was positioned but he went missing. Someone perhaps should have been covering him? Anyway 10-0 had become 18-10 down for Wigan and they only had themselves to blame.

Into the Second Half and I expected Wigan to come back strongly. They did but not until Bradford had scored two further crucial tries.

The first came after just three minutes. Deacon, Ben Harris and Andy Lynch all combined to send ex Warrior Terry Newton over from close range.

Soon after, inevitably, Vianikolo completed his hatrick. A clever Solomona kick to the corner was dived on by Vainikolo and with Deacon converting both tries it was 30-10 after 49 minutes and surely game over.

Well last season we would have collapsed but we are now a lot tougher mentally and Wigan launched a fightback with a quick fire response. Trent Barrett was the man to stand up and be counted as he sent Stuart Fielden over for his first Wigan try against his old club. Fielden's second try soon followed on the hour mark. This time he was sent over by Fletcher. Richards converted both and as quick as Bradford eliminated our lead earlier in the match, Wigan had clawed themselves back into the game. 30-22 with 20 minutes to go.

Wigan fought and fought but couldn't put enough pressure on Bradford. After last week I thought the sin binning of Ashton for holding down in the 69th minute may have been a good sign but it was pointed out to me that we had to score twice.

We could only manage one score and it was far too late. 78th minute and good offloading from Fletcher and David Vaealiki sent Leuluai in for his first Wigan try. Richards converted but with 90 seconds left and 2 points the difference Wigan panicked on the restart and coughed up possession. Frustration from Gareth Hock allowed Paul Deacon to end the scoring with a penalty goal which made the final score 32-28 to the Bulls.

Game Breaking Moment

The two tries early in the second half made Wigan's fightback too big an ask.

Top Player

Trent Barrett - Two weeks in a row for Barrett. This mainly for his calm attitude whilst we were trying to fightback and also that no one really stood out today.

Reaction to the Action

Brian Noble: "I thought we handed the game to Bradford. They're a quality team and to give them free field position as we did was difficult to get back. Bradford are a terrific team at the right end of the field and you can give them free field position. Just after half-time was probably the killer spell for us. It's about time we had some accountability and responsibility. We went 10-0 up and decided to play Harlem Globetrotter (basketball) stuff. But down to 12 men and still fighting shows they have pretty good character. It's starting to come with our halves but we just needed to be more patient. We are going to score some points this year, we know that. We just need to stop them coming the other way. All we need is an equal share of possession. We have to learn the lessons quickly."

Bradford coach Steve McNamara: "It was a strange game.I have two kids at home, a five-year-old and a six-year-old, and I want to see them grow up. If they carry on doing that, I probably won't. We nearly paid a costly price for taking our foot off the gas. We had a dreadful start to the game and a dreadful finish. In between, we were okay. I didn't think we were that flash. Our completion rate was down to 57% which was way less than Wigan's. We gave three penalties while in possession and gave a couple of suicide balls near our line."

Team Sheets

- Bradford Position Wigan -
19 Michael Platt Full Back Michael Withers 4
1 Marcus St Hilaire Winger Chris Ashton 1
3 Ben Harris Centre Phil Bailey 3
4 Shontayne Hape Centre David Vaealiki 14
5 Lesley Vianikolo Winger Pat Richards 5
6 Iestyn Harris Stand Off Trent Barrett 6
7 Paul Deacon Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Joe Vagana Prop Stuart Fielden 8
9 Terry Newton Hooker Mick Higham 9
14 Chris Feather Prop Iafeta Paleaaesina 10
18 Sam Burgess 2nd Row Gareth Hock 11
26 David Solomona 2nd Row Bryan Fletcher 12
12 Glenn Morrison L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
- - - - -
10 Andy Lynch Substitute Shane Millard 16
15 Matt Cook Substitute Paul Prescott 18
16 Ian Henderson Substitute Harrison Hansen 19
17 James Evans Substitute Eamon O'Carroll 24

Score Sheet

Bradford Bulls  32 - Wigan Warriors 28
Tries (5):
Lesley Vianikolo 3
Glenn Morrison
Terry Newton
- Tries (5):
Bryan Fletcher
Chris Ashton
Stuart Fielden 2
Thomas Leuluai
Paul Deacon 6/6


Pat Richards 4/5

Scoring and Incident Pattern

4th Minute Bradford 00 Wigan 04 Try: Bryan Fletcher
- Bradford 00 Wigan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
13th Minute Bradford 00 Wigan 10 Try: Chris Ashton
- Bradford 00 Wigan 10 P.Richards Missed Conversion (1/2)
17th Minute Bradford 04 Wigan 10 Try: Lesley Vianikolo
- Bradford 06 Wigan 10 Conversion: Paul Deacon (1/1)
19th Minute Bradford 10 Wigan 10 Try: Lesley Vianikolo (2)
- Bradford 12 Wigan 10 Conversion: Paul Deacon (2/2)
28th Minute Bradford 16 Wigan 10 Try: Glenn Morrison
- Bradford 18 Wigan 10 Conversion: Paul Deacon (3/3)
Half Time Bradford Bulls 18 Wigan Warriors 10
44th Minute Bradford 22 Wigan 10 Try: Terry Newton
- Bradford 24 Wigan 10 Conversion: Paul Deacon (4/4)
48th Minute Bradford 28 Wigan 10 Try: Lesley Vianikolo (Hatrick)
- Bradford 30 Wigan 10 Conversion: Paul Deacon (5/5)
54th Minute Bradford 30 Wigan 14 Try: Stuart Fielden
- Bradford 30 Wigan 16 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/3)
60th Minute Bradford 30 Wigan 20 Try: Stuart Fielden (2)
- Bradford 30 Wigan 22 Conversion: Pat Richards (3/4)
69th Minute Wigan Sin Bin Chris Ashton (Holding Down)
78th Minute Bradford 30 Wigan 26 Try: Thomas Leuluai
- Bradford 30 Wigan 28 Conversion: Pat Richards (4/5)
80th Minute Bradford 32 Wigan 28 Penalty Goal: Paul Deacon (6/6)
Full Time Bradford Bulls 32 Wigan Warriors 28


Ashley Klein

Match Attendance



Match Weather

Heavy Pitch

Milestones Achieved

Stuart Fielden scored his first Wigan try.
Thomas Leuluai scored his first Wigan try.

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 12 Round 3

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Bradford Bulls 3 3 0 0 86 62 +24 6
2 Harlequins 3 2 1 0 58 34 +24 5
3 Wakefield Wildcats 3 2 0 1 74 60 +14 4
4 Leeds Rhinos 3 2 0 1 70 60 +10 4
5 Hull Kingston Rovers 3 2 0 1 41 45 -4 4
6 Warrington Wolves 3 2 0 1 61 70 -9 4
7 Catalans Dragons 3 1 1 1 56 50 +6 3
8 St Helens 3 1 0 2 46 53 -7 2
9 Wigan Warriors 3 1 0 2 56 64 -8 2
10 Hull FC 3 0 1 2 38 53 -15 1
11 Salford City Reds 3 0 1 2 68 84 -16 1
12 Huddersfield Giants 3 0 0 3 34 53 -19 0

Round 3 Results
Sat 24 Feb Bradford Bulls 32 Wigan Warriors 28 12,798
Sat 24 Feb Catalan Dragons 30 Leeds Rhinos 22 7,630
Sun 25 Feb Hull Kingston Rovers 10 Harlequins 26 7,056
Sun 25 Feb Warrington Wolves 25 Hull FC 24 11,097
Sun 25 Feb Wakefield Wildcats 26 Salford City Reds 24 6,385

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