Bradford 26 Wigan 12: Noble backs Barrett to stay

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The Independent Online

The future of Trent Barrett dominates everything surrounding Wigan at the moment but this poor performance was just as much a cause for concern for their coach Brian Noble.

Three Australian sides are jostling at the front of the queue after Barrett's agent, Wayne Beavis, revealed the stand-off may consider a return Down Under for family reasons.

The Australian admitted after this loss he "has a few issues to sort out" and will sit down with chairman Ian Lenegan today but if he does leave, it will not be before the end of the season.

Noble went further, insisting: "As far as we are concerned, Trent is staying with us. He is totally focused on playing with us this year."

By the time Barrett returned from a knee injury from the bench on 19 minutes, the Warriors were already 14-0 down as Bradford took advantage of an inept start with tries from Semi Tadulala – his ninth in five games – Ben Jeffries and Shontayne Hape.

Wigan stemmed the flow of points but their performance did not improve. All they had to show from the first half was a Pat Richards penalty, which came after Paul Deacon extended the lead to 16 points.

"Bradford were deserved winners," Noble admitted. "The scoreline was a fair reflection. If we start like that against St Helens next week, we will get thumped."

Bradford knew from bitter experience they could not ease off. In last year's play-offs Noble's side fought back from 30-6 down to win 31-30 and when Richards touched down in the corner, it raised hopes of another comeback.

Phil Bailey crashed over but two further penalties from Deacon and James Evans' try sealed the points for Bradford, leaving coach Steve McNamara satisfied.

"We were very good from start to finish," he said. "That was as well as we have controlled a game all season."

Bradford: Halley; Evans, Sykes, Hape, Tadulala; Jeffries, Deacon; Lynch, Newton, Burgess, Solomona, Langley, Morrison. Substitutes used: Nero, Finnigan, Kopczak, Harris.

Wigan: Mathers; Colbon, Goulding, Carmont, Richards; O'Loughlin, Leuluai; Fielden, Higham, Coley, Hansen, Bailey, Tomkins. Substitutes used: Hock, Palea'asina, O'Carroll, Barrett.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).

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