I thought Wigan made hard
work of what could of been an easy victory this afternoon against
a really disappointing Bradford side. Wigan weren't exactly firing
on all cylinders in truth but I expected more from the Bulls
because I think this defeat pretty much ends their season with
play off rugby for them now looking far, far away. Wigan meanwhile
have given themselves a cushion inside the top eight which is good
with difficult matches against Leeds and St Helens to follow.
was a pedestrian paced first half with Bradford probably being the
side that deserved to take the lead. Michael Platt went close but
Wigan's defence was awesome. They forced him to loose the ball
over the line. Cameron Phelps almost scored for Wigan after a
troublesome attacking kick from Thomas Leuluai but the posts got
in his way.
Wigan though would take the lead on 22 minutes and it would be
the Tomkins brothers who would combine. Sam sent his older brother
Joel bursting through a gap to score under the sticks and the easy
conversion for Pat Richards made it 6-0.
That was a lead that Wigan held to half time but only after
more excellent defence and a forward pass call denied Bradford the
chance to level.
Into the second half and it took Wigan six minutes to increase
their lead. Leuluai hit Richards with a sharp pass to send him
over and he converted to make it 12-0.
An Achilles' heal of Wigan currently is our failure to have the
composure to close out games. Maybe it was too early to close the
game out in fairness but Bradford never looked like breaking
strong Wigan defence prior to that try from Richards.
But pressure will always tell and they seemed to go on a good
15 spell of dominating both possession and territory, Wigan
helping them with failure to complete sets. (Apparently -
the first 30 minutes of the 2nd half
Bradford had 18 sets, Wigan had 9 - and 8 of the Wigan sets were
in our own half)
That domination help them back in the game with 17 year old
Loose Forward James Donaldson scoring from close range. Paul
Deacon converted to make it 12-6.
I was thinking all Wigan need is another chance in attack and
they will score and that did prove true but only after Bradford
took the lead. First they equalised on 61 minutes when Full Back
Dave Halley sent Chris Nero over in the corner, to which Deacon
hit a beautiful conversion. Then he kicked a penalty goal to put
Bradford ahead with 12 minutes to go.
That bloody irritating "woolly bully" music they play after each
and every home goal was looking like it was signalling another
regular season defeat at Odsal with the Bulls now leading 14-12
and time ticking. We had done very little attacking second half
but you have to credit Wigan. It's two weeks in a row now they've
comeback to win the game in the final minutes.
They retook the lead on 74 minutes when Joel Tomkins sent
Martin Gleeson, playing his first match since the defeat at
Celtic, over in the corner. Pat may have been seen practicing his
kicking this week but it let him down on this occasion so our lead
was a slender two point advantage.
It didn't really matter though because in the closing stages
Amos Roberts sealed the result despite Pat failing to convert
again. The 20-14 scoreline gave the Bulls slender hope and they
tried a short kick off but it eventually came to nothing and the
hooter eventually sounded to confirm Wigan's first regular season
win at Odsal since 2005.
It is also the first time Wigan have won four league games in a
row since late 2006 but it is important we continue this form
against Leeds and St Helens to follow with the Cup Semi Final now
lurking on the horizon. What I mean by that is late last season we
had two home hammerings off Leeds and Saints - that's what we need
to avoid. Ideally we want to beat them both but realistically
that's a big ask especially with our injury problems. At the very
least however we need to be giving both teams a game and then we
can head into the semi final in great form.
Speaking of the cup
semi, today's win was made sweeter with news of Warrington losing
at nearby Huddersfield which made for a nice game of taunt the
Wire fan on the way home as they passed our coach. Happy Days!