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|Sunday 19th July 2009|
|Bradford Bulls 14 Wigan Warriors 20|
|Odsal Stadium, Bradford|
|Engage Super League 14 - Round 21 of 27|
|Kick Off 3:00pm|
|21||Cameron Phelps||26||Dave Halley|
|2||Amos Roberts||T||2||Rikki Sheriffe|
|22||Martin Gleeson||T||11||Steve Menzies|
|4||George Carmont||4||Chris Nero||T|
|5||Pat Richards||T||G2||1||Michael Platt|
|25||Sam Tomkins||3||Paul Sykes|
|7||Thomas Leuluai||7||Paul Deacon||G3|
|15||Andy Coley||10||Andy Lynch|
|9||Mark Riddell||9||Terry Newton|
|19||Paul Prescott||17||Nick Scruton|
|16||Harrison Hansen||28||Elliott Whitehead|
|12||Phil Bailey||16||Michael Worrincy|
|14||Joel Tomkins||T||13||Jamie Langley|
|3||Darrell Goulding||8||Sam Burgess|
|8||Stuart Fielden||14||Wayne Godwin|
|10||Iafeta Paleaaesina||15||Matt Cook|
|24||Lee Mossop||30||James Donaldson||T|
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.
It 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!
Super League 14 - Round 21 Results
|Fri 17 July||Hull FC 22 Celtic Crusaders 6||10,397|
|Fri 17 July||Leeds Rhinos 24 Hull Kingston Rovers 14||16,192|
|Fri 17 July||St Helens 20 Wakefield Wildcats 22||8,651|
|Fri 17 July||Salford City Reds 12 Castleford Tigers 18||3,487|
|Sun 19 July||Bradford Bulls 14 Wigan Warriors 20||9,487|
|Sun 19 July||Huddersfield Giants 28 Warrington Wolves 10||7,107|
|Sun 19 July||Catalan Dragons 38 Harlequins 16||8,324|
Engage Super League 14 Table - After This Round
|4||Hull Kingston Rovers||21||12||1||8||490||410||+80||25|
|13||Salford City Reds||20||6||0||12||318||534||-216||12|