Deacon's perfect day proves the difference

Bradford 36 Wakefield 22
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The Independent Online

The difference between two enterprising if untidy sides at Odsal boiled down to something as prosaic as goal-kicking. Both teams scored five tries, three of them from Wakefield's Sean Gleeson in the first half, but while Danny Brough managed just one conversion, Paul Deacon was faultless with eight goals from eight attempts.

"It's not often Danny gets outkicked like that," said his coach, John Kear. "But it's not all down to the kicker. I still thought we had enough opportunities to take the scoreline our way."

The key phase of the match was the start of the second half, when Brough lined up what should have been a simple conversion off Steve Snitch's try to level the scores. He missed, Michael Korkidas lost the ball in the next set, Wakefield conceded a penalty and let Julian Rinaldi over for the softest of tries when he tapped and dummied.

The hugely impressive Steve Menzies then handled twice to send Chris Nero over and, although Scott Grix got one back for the Wildcats, two penalties from Deacon saw the Bulls home.

Bradford began well enough, Andy Lynch's sophisticated off-load paving the way for Nero's first, to which Deacon added a conversion and a penalty.

That was the signal, however, for Gleeson to embark on a one-man mission. The former Wigan centre, recalled in to avoid risking Ryan Atkins' shoulder with the France-England game looming, scored his first from Matt Blaymire to get Trinity moving. Ben Jeffries and Langley combined to send Menzies over for his first, but then Gleeson struck twice in quick succession. Menzies, who is due to talk to the Bulls about a contract extension, showed his worth with a virtual replica of his first try and Bradford were back in a lead they were never to lose.

Atkins is not considered a doubt for Paris, but Sam Burgess could, in theory, have to change his plans. The Bulls' forward was sin-binned along with Wakefield's Jason Demetriou after a second-half brawl that was placed on report and will be considered by the RFL today.

"I don't think he threw a punch," said Bulls coach Steve McNamara. At least Bradford threw a few metaphorical ones in a display which, whilst far from perfect, holds hope for the rest of the season.

Bradford: Halley; Sheriffe, Sykes, Nero, Tadulala; Jeffries, Deacon; Lynch, Newton, Scruton, Menzies, Burgess, Langley. Substitutes used: Whitehead, Rinaldi, Worrincy, Kopczak.

Wakefield: Blaymire; Grix, Martin, Atkins, Petersen; Rooney, Brough; Wilkes, Obst, Bibey, Ferguson, Snitch, Demetriou. Substitutes used: Leo-Latu, Drew, Korkidas, Stosic.

Referee: T Alibert (France)

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