Super League: Bradford Bulls see off Wakefield Wildcats for first win
Last Updated: 20/02/14 11:32pm
Adrian Purtell: Scored first of Bradford Bulls' four tries
Luke George scored a debut try as Bradford put their off-field distractions aside and bounced back from an opening-round home defeat to claim a 23-10 Super League victory at Wakefield.
The Bulls, awaiting a decision on a possible points deduction for falling into administration and still in the midst of an ownership tug-of-war, were never behind but needed all their resilience to keep their hosts at bay in an error-strewn encounter between two sides playing their second games in four days.
Bradford, who have won 11 of the last 12 meetings against Wakefield, scored four tries through Adrian Purtell, Brett Kearney, George - who signed over the winter from Huddersfield - and Adam O'Brien.
Wakefield, commended for their second-half showing in an 18-14 defeat at Salford on Sunday but unable to conjure up a repeat performance, replied through Peter Fox and Ali Lauitiiti touchdowns.
Australian half-back Jarrod Sammut, who walked out on the Bulls only last Friday, donned a Wakefield jersey for the first time and put in a lively display after emerging from the bench midway through the first half.
Anthony Mullally, who only joined the Bulls on a month's loan from 2013 table toppers Huddersfield Giants at the beginning of the week, also made his debut off of the bench.
The Bulls lost stand-off Lee Gaskell to the first tackle of the game, limping off with a leg injury.
But, aided forward by four early penalties, the visitors spent most of the opening 10 minutes in Wakefield territory and the pressure finally told when Chev Walker sent Purtell over, although it took video referees Ian Smith and Steve Ganson to confirm the grounding.
Jamie Foster, who finished with three goals, saw his conversion bounce back off the upright.
The Bulls defence then defended three successive sets after George fumbled Paul McShane's cross-field kick and was then caught behind his own in goal line.
Trinity finally hit back after 22 minutes when a Dean Collis' flip pass sent Fox in for a try, but Paul Sykes, against the side he represented in two separate spells, also failed to add the goal.
Kearney put the Bulls ahead again just after the half-hour mark, having latched onto a Luke Gale pass with Foster this time adding the extras.
Wildcats skipper Danny Kirmond was denied by video replays after trying to burrow over from dummy half, enabling Bradford to take a 10-4 advantage into half time.
George extended the Bulls' advantage just after the break after Reece Lyne lost the ball deep in his own half and good work by Gale and Adam Henry helped the winger race clear for a debut try.
But seconds after Danny Addy had gone on report for an illegal tackle on Sammut, Lauitiiti, making his 250th appearance in the British game, barged his way over to reduce the deficit, Sammut taking over the kicking duties to add the conversion.
The increasingly imposing figure of Sammut was deemed to have been tackled just short by Walker - the second time Trinity had a try ruled out - before O'Brien spotted a gap and reached out to score from close range at the other end to calm the Bulls' nerves.
Foster missed a penalty from halfway which could have sealed matters but Gale made amends with a drop goal three minutes from time.