Bradford survived a tense
finish to deny Wigan second place in the engage Super League.
The Bulls had seemed set for a convincing victory after blitzing
their Grattan Stadium visitors with early tries from Semi
Tadulala, Shontayne Hape and Ben Jeffries.
Wigan responded through Pat Richards and Phil Bailey in the
second half but the Bulls just had enough and James Evans settled
the win in the last minute.
Wigan famously overturned a 30-6 deficit to win a play-off
classic on their last visit to Odsal and it looked like a similar
comeback might be required after the Bulls hit the ground running.
Warriors talisman Trent Barrett, whose future at the club has
been the subject of speculation this week, began the game on the
bench to ease his return after minor knee surgery.
But the architect of last September's stunning fightback was
soon required as the Bulls powered over for three tries in the
opening 15 minutes.
Tadulala claimed the first when Glenn Morrison put him over in
the corner after six minutes and Hape doubled the advantage with a
storming run from a David Solomona pass.
Terry Newton then created the third when his heavy-looking kick
bounced kindly behind the posts to sit up nicely for Jeffries to
Fit-again scrum-half Paul Deacon, restored as kicker despite
Iestyn Harris landing a club record 15 goals in last week's 98-6
Challenge Cup rout of Toulouse, converted one and added a later
Wigan struggled to gain momentum with one promising move ending
as Darrell Goulding tossed the ball into touch and another when
Evans got back to beat Richards to a Barrett kick.
A powerful Iafeta Palea'aesina break also came to nothing and
all Wigan had to show for their first-half efforts was a Richards
penalty in added-on time.
The Bulls again looked the dominant force at the start of the
second half with Harris going close and further pressure almost
creating a chance for Evans.
But Wigan's defence proved tougher than earlier and held firm
before Richards offered the visitors hope by sneaking a try in the
corner just after the hour.
Deacon edged the Bulls further in front with another penalty
but Wigan set up a tense finish with a controversial second try.
Mick Higham powered forward after the Bulls had thought Gareth
Hock had knocked on and then there seemed a suspicion of a forward
pass before Bailey touched down.
Richards converted to cut the deficit to 18-12 but Deacon eased
a sense of growing tension with another goal of his own.
Evans then made sure of the victory in the final minute with a
try out wide after a break down the right and Deacon converted.