Wolves' first half flurry secures win over Bulls
Bradford Bulls 12 Warrington Wolves 26
By Rachel Arnett (photo courtesy of Neil Ashurst, P&B Pictures)
Warrington Wolves travelled to Odsal on the back a strong winning performance against Wigan on Monday night.
Their opposition however, went into the Round 20 fixture on the back of a defeat at the hands of Widnes Vikings despite having control and the lead for large parts of the game.
Both teams made several changes to the sides that ran out last weekend notably the Wolves' line-up included Chris Bridge returning from injury along with Mike Cooper. Rhys Williams and Tyrone McCarthy also made the 17 making their fifth and seventh appearances this season respectively.
The Wolves won the corresponding home fixture earlier this season but there was everything to play for in this game now the business end of the season is approaching.
The opening quarter saw both teams remain scoreless and despite several opportunities presenting themselves to the visitors it took until the twenty-first minute for the Wolves to break the deadlock. This opened the floodgate as the visitors crossed for a further three tries keeping the Bulls to nil in the first half. The second half scoring opened with an intercept for the Wolves but after that it was the home side who took control of the scoreboard to win the second forty; two tries to one. These late scores lowered the final score deficit to 12-26.
The Wolves were first in attack and built pressure from the kick-off forcing repeat sets from drop-outs. Quick hands across the park opened up space for the visitors but the rallying Bulls defence could not be broken and despite Briers, Atkins and Waterhouse coming close the home side stood strong to hold them up and keep them out.
Entertaining rugby was on display from the Wolves as they kept the ball alive in search of the opening score but as the 10-minute and 20-minute marks came and went the score line was locked at 0-0.
It took until the twenty-first minute before the deadlock was broken. Play involving Briers and Ratchford laid the platform before a pass on the outside to Currie saw him take an angled run to the left to cross in the corner. The touchline kick was missed by Hodgson. 0-4.
This try opened the floodgates for the remainder of the first half as the Wolves built some momentum and took control. Briers was next over for the visitors finishing off a passage that he started involving Grix and Williams along the way. The try in the right hand corner was converted this time edging the lead to 0-10.
The Wolves next try came off the back of a penalty conceded by the Bulls for holding down just past half way. The visitors started play again quickly and a dummy from Michael Monaghan close to the line saw him burrow his way under the defending tacklers to cross next to the post. An easy conversion for fullback Hodgson, 0-16.
The Bulls continued to pose a threat but the Wolves' defence was able to defuse any pressure they faced as the home side were unable to respond on the score board. Another penalty led to the final try of the half. Atkins came close and was held up over the line before Waterhouse finished it off to perfection forcing his way over in the next play. The conversion attempt was wide but the Wolves went into half time with a 20-point cushion over their opponents.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first with end-to-end play. On 49 minutes the Wolves looked to be in through Atkins as they gathered momentum and pace down the left. But the approaching defence was able to force him into touch to deny the score.
Atkins was on the score sheet just moments later when he claimed an intercept from a L'Estrange pass. The centre ran the 30 metres unchallenged for an easily converted try for Hodgson. 0-26
The Bulls appeared to be their own worst enemy at times as they continued to create opportunities to no avail. But on 66 minutes Bateman looked set to have put his side on the board; referee Silverwood ruled that he was held up and the home side continued their attack with a few tackles remaining. Play was carried from the left to the middle of the field where space opened up for Walker to touch down under the posts. Foster converted.
The Bulls also had the final say of the game through Donaldson when in the last minute of the match he found the gap to run over for his side's second. The final hooter sounded as Foster's boot was on target once more to take the full time score to 12-26.
Wolves' head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith said: "The match lacked intensity but you can't be at your very, very best all the time. I thought our opponents hung in there and tried really hard in their efforts and that was rewarded by a couple of late tries so well done to them; it showed their spirit - they've had a really tough day, our opponents, in terms of late reshuffling. They showed a lot of guts and grit, which was terrific, and I'm happy enough with our boys; we got through pretty much unscathed and we had some hit-outs for some who haven't had game time for a little while. It wasn't the most fluent of Rugby League from either team but unfortunately that's what we get sometimes."
Jamie Foster, Elliot Kear, Adrian Purtell, Keith Lulia, Michael Platt, Danny Addy, Heath L'Estrange, Nick Scruton, Matt Diskin, Adam Sidlow, John Bateman, Matty Blythe, James Donaldson
Subs: Manase Manuokafoa, Chev Walker, Ben Evans, Alex Mellor
Tries: Walker, Donaldson
Goals: Foster (2)
Brett Hodgson, Chris Riley, Ryan Atkins, Simon Grix, Rhys Williams, Lee Briers, Stefan Ratchford, Garreth Carvell, Michael Monaghan, Paul Wood, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Ben Currie
Subs: Chris Bridge, Adrian Morley, Mike Cooper, Tyrone McCarthy
Tries: Currie, Briers, M Monaghan, Waterhouse, Atkins
Goals: Hodgson (3)
Match photo gallery courtesy of P&B Pictures. Click here.
30, Jun, 2013