Super League: Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 10-23 Bradford Bulls
Wakefield (4) 10
- Fox, Lauitiiti
Bradford (10) 23
- Purtell, Kearney, George, O'Brien
- Foster 3
Bradford Bulls put their off-field problems to one side as they stormed to a deserved win over Wakefield.
The Bulls took the lead through Adrian Purtell's try after sustained pressure, but Peter Fox hit back for Wakefield.
Brett Kearney's try gave Bradford a 10-4 half-time lead and they struck first after the break as Luke George capitalised on Reece Lyne's error.
The Wildcats' Ali Lauitiiti scored but Adam O'Brien's try and Luke Gale's drop-goal sealed Bradford's victory.
Bradford have suffered with player departures - including influential half-back Jarrod Sammut, who left to join the Wildcats - on the eve of the new season and a succession of boardroom changes, with a possible points deduction for falling into administration hanging over them.
But they showed admirable resolve from start to finish, despite losing stand-off Lee Gaskell in the opening moments, setting the tone as they penned Wakefield back with a string of early penalties allowing them to dominate possession.
Wakefield defended well but the dam finally broke when Purtell went over after the hosts had been penalised for stripping the ball in a one-on-one tackle.
The Wildcats belatedly got their hands on the ball, and a classic piece of centre play from Dean Collis, side-stepping Purtell superbly, ended with winger Fox running in to level the scores.
Sammut's knock-on helped create the position for Bradford to retake the lead when Kearney twisted in the tackle to score after an excellent Luke Gale pass created the opportunity.
Another Collis break put Wakefield on the attack and when he was stopped short, Danny Kirmond was denied by the video referee.
Mistakes were a nagging problem for both sides before half-time - with Wakefield's Paul McShane suffering from particularly buttery fingers - and it was from a Lyne error soon after the break that George grabbed the try which took his side two scores clear,
Lyne seemed to have dealt with the danger as he plucked a steepling Gale kick out of the air, only to see the ball pop out of his hands when he took it into contact, with Gale taking full advantage to put George over.
Wakefield, who came back from 18-0 down at half-time last week against Salford to narrowly lose 18-14, pulled a try back with a powerful burst from Lauitiiti, who bounced Kearney out of the way en route to the line.
The home side piled on the pressure, with Sammut also denied by the video official after superb defensive work by Chev Walker, but Bradford held firm and eventually worked their way downfield to force Wakefield to drop out under their posts.
From the resulting possession O'Brien showed quick wits to sneak down the short side and put his side 20-10 up, with Jamie Foster knocking over his third conversion to extend the lead.
Foster used up the full minute at his disposal with a penalty attempt from 50m which came up short of the posts. But the Bulls made absolutely sure of the game by working the position for Gale to score a drop-goal.
Wakefield coach Richard Agar:
"We were poor all round and made too many errors, turning over the ball too cheaply and playing too sideways.
"You can't expect to win a game making the amount of errors we did.
"I'm the losing coach so it would be soft to hide behind the closeness in games as an excuse, but we've both had limited preparation and limited recovery time, which showed."
Bradford coach Francis Cummins:
"It (the short period between games) is ridiculous, but we don't make those decisions.
"Bradford and Wakefield are very similar in squad sizes, whereas if you're are Warrington, Wigan or Huddersfield you can move people around in important games. We can't do that and maybe that was a factor.
"It (winning) is a great feeling for the lads. We've not had too much to smile about and that win was priceless."
Wakefield: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Ryan, Lyne, Sykes, Godinet, Anderson, McShane, Smith, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook.
Replacements: Raleigh, Tautai, Sammut, Walshaw.
Bradford: Kearney, George, Henry, Purtell, Foster, Gaskell, Gale, Scruton, Diskin, Sidlow, Bridge, Walker, Donaldson.
Replacements: Manuokafoa, O'Brien, Addy, Mullally.
Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL)