Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Warriors Complete Perfect Easter

After a stunning Good Friday derby win, Wigan hosted a struggling Bradford side who hoped to avoid a repeat of Wigan's 84-6 win over Hull KR last Easter Monday.

However rather than suffering a similar fate they fell to that same score in a 15 try demolition by the Warriors who made sweeping changes from their Good Friday win as Smith, Bowen, Burgess and Taylor were all rested with Flower, Pettybourne and Thornley sidelined.

In came Dom Manfredi, Ryan Hampshire, George Williams, Anthony Gelling, Gil Dudson, Jordan James and Academy product Ryan Sutton who made his senior debut.

Any hopes of a shock win for Bradford suffered an early blow as Wigan opened the scoring after only four minutes after a run from Williams put the hosts in a good position and a quick play saw Green cross to give Wigan the lead. Hampshire kicked the conversion for a 6-0 lead that soon became 10-0 when Green turned creator and found Gelling for a try in the corner, Hampshire missed the long range conversion but Wigan were in control.

Five minutes later, Wigan were in again as O'Loughlin scored his second of the weekend after a fine run and take from Green's kick and Hampshire made up for his earlier miss with his second successful conversion for a 16-0 lead inside 15 minutes. Bradford needed to respond to avoid what could be a record score in the league and Wigan gave a debut to Ryan Sutton who made an instant impact with a good break down the middle, Hampshire spied a gap in the Bulls defence and took advantage to cross for the try and convert his own score for a 22-0 lead.

The pacy fullback was in again minutes later after being picked out by Farrell and again converted his own try for a 28-0 lead that surely signalled a loss for Bradford bar a stunning comeback. Hopes of that comeback were dampened as Wigan reached 30 points in the 27th minute with a clever run by Farrell resulting in a try for the forward and Hampshire stepped up to convert for a fifth time for a 34-0 scoreline inside half an hour which was becoming a humiliation for the visiting side.

Bradford got some good luck when a strong Wigan move was pulled back for a forward pass but that luck left them when they knocked on early in the set and it soon got worse as Wigan brought up the 40 point mark as Hughes crossed for a try and Hampshire kicked for 40-0 with six minutes of the first half still to play.

A horrific first 40 minutes for the Bulls ended with them going even further behind as Powell crossed for a try and Hampshire made it seven from eight attempts with the boot for a 46-0 half-time lead. Thoughts during the interval turned to what happened on Easter Monday last year as a similar second half could result in a 92-0 win beating the record set of 84-6 last April.

Wigan needed 38 points to match that win and began the pursuit quickly as Bateman scored against his former side inside four minutes of the second period with a switch in the kicking seeing Williams take over and kick successfully for a 52-0 lead. A repeat set and another try for Wigan as Goulding scored the tenth of the afternoon after a pass from Bateman and although Williams missed the conversion, 58-0 after 47 minutes is devastating for the visitors.

A third try in four minutes saw Green cross for his second and Williams kick for a 62-0 lead, though a sixty plus point is amazing as a home fan, it was harrowing just how far Bradford have fallen from the halcyon days of Grand Final wins over Wigan in the early 2000's and that fall became even greater as the Wigan kicking duo of Hampshire and Williams combined with the latter crossing for the try and converting successfully for his fourth and Wigans' tenth from twelve attempts for a 68-0 lead.

After having been originally rested from the named 19', Green was having a superb afternoon and he created another try when he picked out Gelling who claimed his second try of the afternoon with Williams converting for a staggering 74-0 lead with 20 minutes still to play. The record of 84 points from this time last year was within reach when Gelling turned creator and found Manfredi for a try in the corner with the long range conversion missed by Williams as Wigan led 78-0.

A few mistakes by both sides saw an end to the consistent scoring which returned with Bradford preventing a nilling when a run by Gale saw him cross for a try and then convert for 78-6. Both sides returned to the mistakes from a few minutes previous and with four minutes to go the 2013 record looked to remain intact. However, Dudson found his way over the line and Hampshire resumed the kicking duties to convert for 84-6 to match the 2013 Easter Monday win which is how the game ended.

A demolition for Bradford and one that will be hard to comeback from with Catalan up next in the Challenge Cup and home games against Warrington and St Helens in the Super League.