Wigan completely dominated the team that started the weekend just two rungs below them on the Super League ladder with an unstoppable first-half performance today. It was not so much a case of Bradford playing badly as not being allowed to play at all as the Warriors piled on five converted tries, three of them from Liam Farrell, who is having the sort of season young forwards dream about.
Farrell – cousin of Andy, England's rugby union coach – took his tally so far to 10 and Wigan were also well served by Blake Green. It is fair to say they were not exactly dancing in the streets leading to the DW Stadium when his signing was announced last year, but his partnership with Matty Smith has proved a winner.
"I'm very happy we've got the half-backs we have," said the Wigan coach, Shaun Wane, from whom that is almost equivalent to having a medal pinned on your chest.
With half a dozen Wigan players back in their side after injury, the league leaders were fielding their strongest line-up of the season so far. That showed during the first half.
Green's early influence saw him kick and get a deflection for Farrell's first try and then claim the second himself with a lovely side-step. Number three came from Sean O'Loughlin's clever pass to Jack Hughes and Farrell's try-line homing device took him over twice more before the break.
The Bulls did not help themselves with some fundamental errors, highlighted by Jarrod Sammut putting three consecutive kicks dead. "When you give up field position to them, Wigan are very, very ruthless," said Francis Cummins, Bradford's rueful coach. Fortunately for him and his team, that ruthlessness did not extend far into a second half that Wane called "awful".
Sam Tomkins did score in the first minute of the second half from Smith's precise kick but, generally speaking, Wigan's prolific outside backs had a quiet afternoon, simply because it had been too easy to breach the Bradford defence down the middle.
From that point, the whole side went quiet. "Both teams' energy levels were poor," said the demanding Wane.
The Bulls even got a try, the unfortunate Sammut making some amends by taking Luke Gale's cross-kick and touching down. Sammut also landed the conversion.
But Bradford finished the game with a stream of penalties conceded and with Elliott Whitehead in the sin bin, an inconvenience for which Cummins declined – at least in public – to blame the referee, Tim Roby.
Bradford Kearney; Kear, Purtell, Lulia, Platt; Addy, Sammut; Scruton, Diskin, Manuokafoa, Walker, Whitehead, Donaldson.Substitutes used Gale, L'Estrange, Langley, Sidlow.
Wigan S Tomkins; Charnley, Thornley, Hughes, Richards; Green, Smith; Crosby, McIlorum, Mossop, Farrell, Burke, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Hansen, Taylor, Dudson, L Tomkins.
Referee T Roby (St Helens).Reuse content