Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Warriors Overcome Bulls Challenge

A fifth consecutive win and the retention of their position at the top of the table was Wigan's reward after a comfortable win over Bradford at Odsal.

Wigan welcomed back long term sidelined Mossop and Hansen and Charnley, O'Loughlin and Richards returned after missing out against Wakefield last week.

Wigan started well and forced some good defence from the Bradford pack but the defence buckled in the ninth minute as a grubber kick by Green found the hands of Farrell who went over from close range for the opening try which was his eighth of 2013 and Richards success from the conversion put Wigan 6-0 up.

Five minutes later and the Warriors were in again as a great dummy by Green fooled the defence and allowed him to go in for the try and Richards was two from two for a 12-0 lead which could have been narrowed quickly as Purtell flicked a pass to Kear but he knocked on so close the line.

The knock on proved costly as Hughes soon crossed for Wigan and Richards' third conversion made for a 18-0 score which quickly became 24-0 after a mistake from Kearney in the 36th minute enabled Farrell to scoop the ball and cross for a second try to notch a ninth for the season and Richards' perfect kicks continued with his fourth conversion.

The half ended with the completion of a hat-trick for Farrell after yet another Bradford mistake which gifted Wigan possession and a cut inside by Farrell sealed his treble and to bring the half to a close, Richards hit a fifth consecutive conversion to push the half time score to 30-0 to Wigan.

Bradford's run of mistakes continued instantly from the restart as the kick off went out on the full and Wigan took full advantage adding to their comfortable lead as the resulting kick from Matty Smith was amazingly accurate in finding Tomkins who caught and ran safely of the line with Richards hitting double figures for the afternoon with his sixth successful conversion and Wigan were 36-0 up.

Ten minutes later, the Bulls' faithful fans had something to cheer about as they saw Jarrod Sammut cross for the try after collecting a superb kick and he converted himself to give Bradford a chance at 6-36 down but their hopes were hampered by the sin-binning of Whitehead after a team warning.

Wigan pushed to close the game out but some tough Bulls defence kept the score deficit to 30 points and saw Wigan take the win after an even second half which sees them remain top of the table with a massive points difference of 298 (only four other SL teams have even scored that many).

As for my prediction of 36-12, I came so close and if I had bet on it I would have been cursing my luck but it showed that the return of the stars would include a 'foot off the pedal' second half which has happened in the past and may have been with the visit of Leigh in the Challenge Cup fourth round on Friday.