Bradford Bulls 38, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 28.
The Wildcats’dream of a top eight place in Engage Super League XV virtually ended in with a disappointing defeat at Grattan Stadium Odsal.
Not only did it consign the Wildcats to a spectator’s role in the forthcoming end-of-season play-offs, it brought to an end a run of 12 consecutive defeats for the Bulls.
It was a fifth successive defeat for the Wildctats and leaves them with just one last chance to break the sequence in their last game of the season at Salford City Reds on September 5th.
Wildcats boss John Kear admitted that his side performed poorly after initially taking the lead.
He said: “Well obviously, we were the architects of our own downfall.
“It was in the quarter before half-time that we went from 12-0 up to 26-12 down and we just made error after error – early tackle errors and then late tackle penalties and that just killed us.
“The Wayne Godwin try before half-time gave us one score too many to fight back from.
“The Bulls did play some good rugby, they did entertain the fans and they did show some fightback (in the second half) but it is a very disappointing afternoon for us.”
Bradford caretaker coach Lee St Hilaire was relieved his side were able to claim their first win under him with a 38-28 success over Wakefield.
St Hilaire was finally able to celebrate after the Bulls ended their club-record 12-game losing run at Odsal against the Wildcats.
“I’m pleased and the boys are as well,” said St Hilaire. “I’m pleased that we did it at home in the last game of the season to send the fans home happy as well as ourselves.”
The Bulls did not have it all their own way as Danny Kirmond and Daryl Millard scored to give Wakefield a 12-0 advantage after as many minutes. But the Bulls never looked back once they got on the scoresheet through Brett Kearney.
Captain Andy Lynch levelled matters after being put through by Daniel Addy, while substitute Wayne Godwin added two tries in four minutes to give the Bulls a 26-12 half-time lead.
St Hilaire said: “The two penalties we gave away led to two tries.
“The boys then said ‘hang on a minute’, we’ve got to start performing.
“I thought they did that and Wayne Godwin came off the bench – he lit us up – and we came in with a comfortable half-time lead.”
The game looked to be all but over when Elliott Whitehead went over the line after the interval.
To their credit the visitors had not lost all hope and Sam Obst superbly ran on to his own kick to cross the try line in the 52nd minute, while former Bulls player Glenn Morrison capitalised on poor defending to make it two tries in as many minutes when he powered over the line.
St Hilaire was impressed with how the Wildcats responded and said: “They’re a good side and they’ve got some good players.
“John Kear would have spoken his words of wisdom at half-time but we’ve got to stop making errors in defence.”
Steve Menzies eased the pressure after a Bulls counter-attack allowed the full-back to increase Bradford’s lead.
Although Sean Gleeson went over for Wakefield, the visitors could not score again.
Bulls: Dave Halley; Rikki Sherrife, Michael Platt, Paul Sykes, Jason Crookes; Brett Kearney, Danny Addy; Nick Scruton, Heath L’Estrange, Andy Lynch, Michael Worrincy, Jamie Langley, Steve Menzies.
Interchange: Wayne Godwin, Tom Olbison, Craig Kopczak, Elliott Whitehead.
Wildcats: Aaron Murphy; Danny Kirmond, Paul Johnson, Damien Blanch; Ben Jeffries, Sam Obst; Paul King, Julian Rinaldi, Michael Korkidas, Jason Demetriou, Glenn Morrison, Tevita Leo-Latu. Interchange: Sean Gleeson, Charlie Leaeno, Dale Ferguson, Richard Moore.
Bradford Tries: Brett Kearney, Andy Lynch, Wayne Godwin 2, Steve Menzies, Elliott Whitehead. Goals: Paul Sykes (7)
Wakefield Tries: Sean Gleeson, Sam Obst, Glenn Morrison, Daryl Millard, Danny Kirmond. Goals: Ben Jeffries (4).
Half time: 26-12