Warrington kept it tight at the top of Super League with a routine victory over a badly disrupted Bradford side on Sunday. Two points now cover the top three and, despite the Bulls' willingness to go the distance in a lost cause, the Wolves never looked like losing any ground.
In the light of Wigan's defeat on Friday night, every incentive was there for the Wolves to take advantage at Odsal. Bradford over-achieved in the early months of the season, but reality has started to bite and they went into this game with just one win in their last eight. On top of their crop of injuries and defections they lost Luke Gale on the morning of the match because of the death of his mother.
Warrington were so dominant in the first quarter that it was a miracle that it took them 21 minutes to post their first try, scored by Ben Currie with a dummy and an imperious stride to the line.
Lee Briers started and finished the move for the next, before Michael Monaghan shrugged off some weak tackling for the third.
Stefan Ratchford, who was having an outstanding game, held up his pass subtly for Trent Waterhouse to score and the Wolves looked set to go on the rampage in the second half. It never quite happened, although Ryan Atkins stretched their lead 10 minutes after the break.
If it was all about damage limitation from that point, then the Bulls limited it pretty effectively. Warrington lost some of their intensity, stopped breaking tackles and even conceded two tries. The first was claimed by Chev Walker from a neat short pass from Danny Addy and James Donaldson lifted his coach Francis Cummins' spirits with a second.
"We showed some character by keeping going to the end," Cummins said. In what was always going to be a difficult season following the reformation of the club, that is perhaps all that can reasonably be demanded.
Warrington's ambitions are rather different, although their coach, Tony Smith, admits that it will not break his heart if they fail to go into the play-offs in first place. "But, if we do, we'll be pretty proud," he said.
Bradford Foster; Kear, Purtell, Lulia, Platt; Addy, L'Estrange; Scruton, Distin, Sidlow, Bateman, Blythe, Donaldson. Substitutes used Manuokafoa, Walker, Evans, Mellor.
Warrington Hodgson; Riley, Atkins, Grix, Williams; Briers, Ratchford; Hill, Monaghan, Wood, Waterhouse, Westwood, Currie. Substitutes used Bridge, Morley, Cooper, McCarthy.
Referee R Silverwood (Mirfield).