Farrell keeps Wigan on a roll

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The Independent Online
Wigan maintained their unrelenting pace in the Stones Centenary Championship yesterday. Their 36-26 victory at Bradford made it eight wins from eight league matches - their 19th successive victory in all competitions.

Andy Farrell, making his 100th first-class appearance, scored two tries and four goals to take his season's tally to 150. Barrie-Jon Mather strengthened his claims for an England place in next month's Halifax Rugby League Centenary World Cup with a towering performance and two-well taken tries.

But there were some pluses for Bradford's new coach Brian Smith, who arrived at Odsal only 10 days ago - mainly his side's spirited rally, and the fact that this was the leaders' smallest win of the campaign.

Bradford's brightest spell was in the second half. Drawing level in the 35th minute, they went on to go over three times in eight minutes with their captain, Deryck Fox, taking his goal tally to five. But they ran out of time and Wigan responded with some clinical finishing.

St Helens' Chris Joynt was the driving force in their 35-18 win against Castleford. Joynt scored a try in each half as Saints spoiled the debut of the Kiwi forward Brendon Tuuta, Castleford's signing from their neighbours Featherstone.

However, it was not all good news for Saints. They lost their captain, Bobby Goulding, in the first half with a thigh injury.

Saints powered to a 24-6 interval lead with tries from Anthony Sullivan - who ran 80 yards to open the scoring in the 16th minute - Apollo Perelini, Joynt and Paul Loughlin, who took his career points total to 2,000.

Castleford's only reply was a solo touchdown from Tawera Nikau, playing his first match of the season after returning from the Australian club Cronulla.

Both sides scored two tries in the second half, Saints' efforts coming from Joynt and Karle Hammond, who also dropped a goal in his first full appearance after signing from Widnes. Castleford replied with a Jason Flowers try and a late effort from Graham Steadman.

Halifax were back to winning ways after heavy defeats by Wigan and Leeds. Their winger, John Bentley, scored four tries to mastermind a comprehensive 28-6 defeat of Sheffield Eagles.

After a dull first half, in which the only scores were a John Schuster penalty and a brace of Carl Briggs drop goals, Bentley's first try, three minutes, after the re-start injected life and pace into the match.

The Western Samoan, Mike Umaga, was Halifax's other try scorer, taking advantage of Sheffield's floundering defence three minutes after Bentley's try.

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