Bulls sound early warning

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The Independent Online

It is conventional wisdom that dress rehearsals have no relevance to the performance proper. They will be hoping that holds true for Warrington, otherwise there is little point turning up for Saturday's Challenge Cup semi-final after this 12-try Super League romp.

Eight tries came in a first half that was nothing short of frightening. The pattern was established after one minute, with Justin Brooker scoring after Lee Penny and Alan Hunte had got into a tangle under Henry Paul's high kick.

Five minutes later, Scott Naylor broke out of his own half and Robbie Paul was in support to score. Jamie Peacock's driving run and pass to James Lowes then set up the position from which Robbie Paul sent Mike Forshaw over. Robbie Paul put Stuart Spruce through a huge gap for the fourth Bradford try, Lowes stole the ball from Steve Blakeley for the next.

The best of the bunch came when Paul Anderson smashed through a couple of tackles, starting a chain of brilliant ball handling that ended with Brooker going in for his second. Nathan McAvoy's tremendous run that set up the next - although he was caught short of the line, Lowes' pass to Robbie Paul did the trick.

Under the circumstances, keeping the Bulls scoreless for 12 minutes leading up to half time amounted to a moral victory, but just before the break McAvoy took Henry Paul's pass to charge away again, and this time there was no stopping him.

With a 42-point lead and a reshuffled side, it was perhaps inevitable that Bradford would lack the same momentum in the second half. It was all of 12 minutes - after Bernard Dwyer and Andrew Gee had been sent to the sin bin - before Brad Mackay forced his way over.

Henry Paul capitalised on the impressive Pryce's long break for the next. But, before Anderson rounded it off for the Bulls, Warrington managed a consolation try through Penny. "We didn't turn up to play, we turned up to go through the motions," their coach, Darryl Van de Velde, said.

Bradford Bulls: Spruce; McAvoy, Naylor, Pryce, Brooker; H Paul, R Paul; McDermott, Lowes, Anderson, Peacock, Forshaw, Mackay. Substitutes used: Smith, Vaikona, Dwyer, Boyle.

Warrington Wolves: Penny; Hunte, Kohe-Love, Roper, Forster; Briers, Langer; Gee, Farrar, Nutley, Knott, McCurrie, Nikau. Substitutes used: Guisset, Hilton, Sibbitt, Blakeley.

Referee: J Connelly (Wigan).