Super League: Wakefield Wildcats 24-26 Bradford Bulls

Jamie Foster

Wakefield (12) 24

Lyne, Fox, Mariano, Lee Smith
Lee Smith (4)

Bradford Bulls (10) 26

Lulia (2) Olbison, Kearney, Foster
Foster (3)

Bradford Bulls came from behind to claim victory against fellow play-off hopefuls Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

The hosts had the lead at the break thanks to two converted tries from Reece Lyne and Peter Fox, with Keith Lulia going over twice for the Bulls.

Frankie Mariano touched down for the Wildcats but tries from Tom Olbison, Brett Kearney and Foster put Bradford in front.

Lee Smith went over to set up an exciting finish but the Bulls held on.

The Bulls are now two points adrift of Hull with four games remaining, and with a favourable run-in they will fancy their chances of making the top eight for the first time since 2008.

After dominating field position and going close on numerous occasions, Wakefield hit the front when Lyne ran an excellent line to collect a short pass, and he showed great footwork to round his marker to touch down. Smith converted for a six-point lead.

Seven minutes later and the home side were over again, great hands down the right side allowed Danny Cowling to supply Fox with a neat short pass for the score, before Smith converted.

Five minutes before the half the Bulls hit back when Lulia dived over from close range, Foster adding the extras to reduce the gap to six.

Lulia crossed for his second after a sublime offload from Danny Addy, but Foster failed to convert leaving the Bulls two behind at the break.

Wakefield extended their lead in the second, Tim Smith with the assist as Mariano raced 30 metres to score. Lee Smith converted for an eight-point lead.

On the Bulls' next attack Luke Gale's dangerous grubber kick was not dealt with by Ali Lauitiiti and Olbison pounced to touch down. Foster converted to reduce the deficit to two.

The Bulls then took the lead with a spectacular 70-metre try by Kearney after Foster was put away by Lulia. Foster converted, and he went over to give the visitors an eight-point advantage after an excellent flick pass by Lulia.

With five minutes remaining Lee Smith broke two tackles to dive over, and he converted to reduce the gap to two, but the Bulls stood firm.


Wakefield coach Richard Agar:

"I thought we gave the game away today. To tell you the truth I thought we were all over them in the first half.

"I thought we created the most chances. We let in two soft tries. We needed to be more clinical.

"It makes it hard for us to make the play-offs, and Bradford have now leapfrogged us.

"There will certainly be some changes next week. We've got some players who have been making too many errors for too long."

Bradford coach Francis Cummins:

"In the first half we didn't get any kind of field position. We weren't getting any kind of rhythm but the character was there.

"Defensively there were negatives, but with ball in hand Keith Lulia is a handful. He did really well with some short-side plays.

"Wakefield are right behind us so it was a big win. It gives us another week in the race for the play-offs.

"We do need to improve and we need to ask more questions of the opposition."


Wakefield: Mathers, Fox, Cowling, Lyne, Cockayne, L. Smith, T. Smith, Poore, Aiton, Amor, Amor, Mariano, Kirmond, Walshaw.

Replacements: Tautai for Poore (28), Raleigh for Amor (20), Trout for Amor (73), Lauitiiti for Kirmond (32).

Bradford: Kearney, Kear, Purtell, Lulia, Foster, Sammut, Gale, Scruton, Diskin, Evans, Langley, Olbison, Donaldson.

Replacements: Walker for Scruton (25), L'Estrange for Diskin (26), Manuokafoa for Evans (17), Addy for Donaldson (35).

Att: 8,084

Ref: James Child (England).