Wigan In Narrow Defeat At Bradford

Full Time from the Grattan Stadium.......

Bradford Bulls 32

Tries - Vainikolo (3), Morrison, Newton.
Goals - Deacon (6/6).

Wigan Warriors 28

Tries - Fletcher, Ashton, Fielden (2), Leuluai.
Goals - Richards (4/5).
Sin Bin - Ashton (68 mins)

HT - 18-10 Match Report

Wigan Warriors were narrowly defeated at the Grattan Stadium on Saturday night against a Bradford Bulls side who have now won all three of their opening engage Super League games.

On a night which saw the return of Brian Noble, Stuart Fielden and Michael Withers to their former club it didn’t prove to be a memorable time for them. Wigan started and ended brightly. Led 10-0 then trailed 30-10 and fought back but it was the home side that snatched the points 32-28.

Wigan took the lead on 3 minutes, Glenn Morrison penalised for not playing the ball properly. The Warriors spread it wide and a clever Thomas Leuluai kick was dived upon by Bryan Fletcher, the referee going upstairs to check that Fletcher was onside. Richards struck the goal to make it 0-6.

Wigan came close to extending their lead on 12 minutes, Richards and Vaealiki combined well down the left and Mickey Higham was just held short of the try line.

Two minutes later and the Warriors were in for their second try. Sean O’Loughlin with the break and Chris Ashton was there on his outside to cruise over, this time the extras were missed. The Bulls unhappy that a Wigan player had crossed in front of the Wigan captain.

Bradford hit back almost immediately on 18 minutes, with space on the left Shontayne Hape with a great ball in side to Vainikolo for the try, Deacon with the conversion 6-10.

Four minutes later and the ‘Volcano’ was in again in the corner shrugging off the challenge of O’Loughlin for his second try, Deacon with a touchline conversion edged the Bulls into a 12-10 advantage.

Wigan were caught cold on 32 minutes, Ben Harris with a kick in field and with both Withers and Ashton to cover, Bulls loose forward Glenn Morrison was quickest to react to fall on the loose ball. Deacon made it three from three and from being 10-0 up Wigan found themselves 18-10 down with half an hour gone. That’s the way it stayed until the interval.

It took Bradford just four minutes to cross for their fourth try, Deacon and Ben Harris involved, Terry Newton with the try, Deacon made it 24-10 with his conversion.

A clever Solomona kick to the corner was dived on by Vainikolo for his hat-trick with 49 minutes on the clock. Deacon again was spot on with the goal 30-10. Bradford looking in the box seat at this stage.

On 53 minutes Wigan struck back, Trent Barrett with the pass to send in Stuart Fielden for the Warriors’ third try of the night and his first in Wigan colours against his former club. Pat Richards with the goal made it 30-16.

Fielden was in again, this time from a short Fletcher pass and with the extras added all of a sudden the Bulls who had looked so dominant were just having a sneaky look over their shoulders.

The task was made even more difficult as Ashton was sent to the sin bin with just over ten minutes left. Wigan though were not yet done, Fletcher and Vaealiki sending in Thomas Leuluai which Richards goaled 30-28 but it was just too little too late for Brian Noble’s side.

Paul Deacon ended the scoring with a further penalty top make it a 32-28 home win. A brave revival but the league points to the Bradford Bulls.

Team News

Bradford Bulls

Michael Platt, Marcus St Hilaire, Ben Harris, Shontayne Hape, Lesley Vainikolo, Iestyn Harris, Paul Deacon, Joe Vagana, Terry Newton, Chris Feather, Sam Burgess, David Solomona, Glenn Morrison

Replacements – Matt Cook, Ian Henderson, James Evans, Andy Lynch

Wigan Warriors

Michael Withers, Chris Ashton, Phil Bailey, David Vaealiki, Pat Richards, Trent Barrett, Thomas Leuluai, Stuart Fielden, Mickey Higham, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Gareth Hock, Bryan Fletcher, Sean O’Loughlin

Replacements – Shane Millard, Paul Prescott, Harrison Hansen, Eamon O’Carroll

Referee - Ashley Klein

Attendance - 12,798

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