Wigan dramatically ended
Bradford's unbeaten 31-match home record to take over at the top of Super
League after another enthralling clash of the titans.
men followed up their draw with the Bulls at the JJB Stadium by further
underlining their title credentials in front of a crowd of 18,815,
becoming the first team to win at Odsal since the old Sheffield Eagles
triumphed there in August 1998.
Two tries from outstanding hooker Terry Newton was the highlight of an
impressive performance from the Warriors, who are now a point ahead of the
The visitors, who overcame the early loss of leading try-scorer Brett
Dallas, started and finished the better side, keeping Bradford scoreless
after the break just five days after running up a record 96-16 score
In a dramatic opening they had a try disallowed by the video referee
after only three minutes when second-rower Denis Betts was adjudged to
have been held on his back over the line after breaching the Bradford
defence out wide.
Newton also had claims for a penalty try ruled out when the ball was
ripped from his grasp on the line, but Andy Farrell put over the resultant
penalty to open the scoring and Newton then supported a superb break by
prop Terry O'Connor to grab the first try.
Bradford, fresh from that record win over Salford, were looking
strangely vulnerable at that stage but their reply was immediate and
effective as they ran in three tries in the space of 13 minutes.
Winger Justin Brooker had already signalled his danger with a couple of
elusive runs and he demonstrated clinical finishing to squeeze past Steve
Renouf from close range for a soft try that sparked the fightback.
Henry Paul missed the conversion but put over a penalty shortly
afterwards to close the gap to 8-6 and, as Bradford gained in confidence,
Brooker and Robbie Paul were both held up over the line before they went
in front for the first time on 28 minutes.
Impressive second-rower Jamie Peacock offloaded magnificently from a
two-man tackle to send the supporting Paul Deacon over and Wigan were
still recovering from that shock when loose forward Brad Mackay took
advantage of Henry Paul's clever switch of play to stretch out of
Farrell's tackle to score his side's third try.
Paul kicked his third goal but Wigan hit back just before the break
when winger Jason Robinson lived up to his 'Billy Whizz' reputation by
producing electrifying footwork to bamboozle the Bulls defence for a
It was nearly all Wigan in the second half and they were twice stopped
in full flow by a couple of debatable forward-pass decisions by referee
As the visitors continued to pound away at the Bradford line, only a
terrific last-ditch tackle from Stuart Fielden prevented Renouf from
touching down - but Wigan did manage to score from the next play.
There seemed little real danger when Betts took Farrell's inside pass
only to run into a three-man tackle, but he stretched out to plant the
ball on the line.
That levelled the scores and Farrell's fourth successful goal put the
Warriors back in front - and they clinched a memorable victory when Peters
and Brady Malam worked the ball out wide and Newton finished off for his
second try after a one-handed take.
Peters and Neil Cowie added drop goals to stretch Wigan's lead and
substitute Lee Gilmour polished off the home side when he raced over for
his side's fifth try in injury time.