Comeback win for Bulls
Bradford keep up play-off push
Last Updated: 21/07/08 3:56pm
Wakefield head into their Challenge Cup semi-final facing up to a fourth straight defeat after Bradford beat their Super League play-off rivals 24-10.
The Bulls came back from both the sin-binning of Sam Burgess and a first-half deficit to achieve the result, which keeps them sixth in the Super League table.
The 19-year-old Bulls and England forward became involved in a melee involving several players just past the half-hour.
The brawl typified a chaotic but low-quality first period which saw the Wildcats take a 6-0 lead through Damien Blanch's second-minute try and a Brad Drew penalty.
But the visitors caved in after the break, with Bradford roaring back to score four tries through Paul Deacon, Terry Newton, Ben Jeffries and Iestyn Harris.
It was the worst possible way for John Kear's men to prepare for next Sunday's Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Wakefield rested their talismanic scrum-half Danny Brough with that date in mind but Drew initially combined well alongside Jamie Rooney at half-back.
And the visitors went ahead inside the second minute when Blanch ran on to a grubber kick from Danny Sculthorpe placed in the right-hand corner.
Drew missed the extras but Wakefield nevertheless kept up their momentum as the half progressed.
But the match also proved chaotic in the first half, with decisions made by referee Phil Bentham leaving the home supporters seething.
Their mood was hardly helped by the steady stream of misplaced and undercooked passes coming from the home side.
That the Bulls failed to create any genuine try-scoring opportunities said everything about their first-half malaise.
Drew's penalty put Wakefield further ahead, with Burgess then finding himself in the sinbin after getting involved in a confrontation with Matt Petersen after he squared up to Newton in the 32nd minute.
However, with Burgess back on shortly after the re-start, Bradford rediscovered their poise and in the 49th minute a piece of delightful footwork allowed Deacon to tip toe his way over the line from close range.
Three minutes later Newton found a way through Wakefield's defensive line from acting half and on the hour mark former Wildcats stand-off Jeffries broke clear for Bradford's third.
Deacon converted all three to place his side 18-6 ahead and although Wakefield hit back soon after for an unconverted try from Blanch in the right corner, a delicate offload from Joe Vagana allowed Harris over from 10 metres out.
An ultimately comfortable win came with Deacon's conversion, one which must also encourage Bradford's hopes of securing a play-off berth - possibly at Wakefield's expense.
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K RvsSalford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield WildcatsvsHull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington WolvesvsWigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves