Wigan temper helps them defeat Bradford - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wigan temper helps them defeat Bradford

13/09/2008 09:21:22 AM Comments (0)

Wigan eased past Bradford 30-14 in their Super League play-off on Friday, channelling their anger over a controversial ground switch into a successful first step closer to the grand final.

Wigan had been forced to move their elimination tie away from their JJB Stadium to nearby Widnes because of a fixture clash with football counterparts Wigan Athletic.

But it proved to be of little importance as they powered their way through to the semi-finals where they will face either Warrington or Catalans Dragons.

Bradford started brightly but the loss of captain Paul Deacon with a leg injury at half-time was a setback from which they never recovered.

The outcome marked a sad ending for Bulls prop Joe Vagana, the veteran New Zealander whose distinguished career came to an abrupt end, while Iestyn Harris, too, brought the curtain down on his Bradford career.

Bradford grabbed the first try after 22 minutes when prop forward Andy Lynch handed off second-rower Harrison Hansen to stroll over for an easy score.

Deacon added the conversion to make it 8-0 but Wigan struck back 10 minutes before half-time when scrum-half Thomas Leuluai stretched out of a three-man tackle to plant the ball on the line.

Pat Richards' conversion cut the Bulls' lead to just two points and that gave Wigan just the encouragement they needed.

Captain Trent Barrett was held up on his back but, after Vagana spilled possession in front of his own posts, their growing pressure paid off just before half-time when Hansen took Leuluai's pass to go through a gaping hole in the Bradford defence.

The momentum was clearly with Wigan and it was no surprise when they extended their lead with a third try through winger Mark Calderwood before Richards' third goal made it 18-8.

The Bulls reduced the deficit when second-rower Simon Finnigan took Terry Newton's short pass to go in for his side's second try on 52 minutes.

Harris added the goal to reduce the margin even further to just four points but there was no way back for Bradford when loose forward Joel Tomkins scored Wigan's fourth try on 67 minutes.

Gareth Hock then beat five defenders to score Wigan's fifth try, with Richards taking his goal tally to five.

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