Jonathan Davies applauds the award winner who ended up a Wembley loser

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The Independent Online
Apart from providing great moments and superb entertainment, this final showed what we can expect from summer rugby league - fast, thrilling action and results in the balance until the very end for the simple reason that in that sort of heat the players get absolutely knackered.

I'm not knocking the fitness on either side. But on a fast surface and with a hot pace that never faltered, it was no surprise that the last 20 minutes provided the gaps for the rush of late scores.

Bradford's captain, Robbie Paul, was undoubtedly the man of the match and the pounds 10,000 for scoring Wembley's first hat-trick could not have gone to a more deserving player. He was comparatively quiet in the first half, but when he eventually got going, they couldn't handle him.

The same could be said for his opposite number, Bobbie Goulding. He didn't do too well in the first half and his missed conversions played a big part in disheartening St Helens, who let their good start drift away from them. Bobbie lives on his confidence, and those missed kicks got to him and his team.

But I didn't think Saints were out of it even when they went 26-12 down and, sure enough, it was Goulding who was the catalyst for their comeback. When Nathan Graham allowed Goulding's high kick to bounce and Keiron Cunningham scored, you could see the confidence flooding back to him.

It was obvious the lofted kick was then going to be a mighty weapon for Goulding, and I really felt for Graham. Full-back is a lonely position when they start bombing you with kicks that deadly and follow them up with swift chasers. Graham won't want anyone making excuses for him but he got no protection at all. I'm not saying you should obstruct the chasers but you should at least stop them getting a clear run. Bradford didn't and paid the price.

There were excellent performances on both sides. I thought the contribution of the Bradford hooker, Bernard Dwyer, was considerable and Danny Arnold looked terrific. It was strange that in such a high-scoring match neither of St Helens' star centres, Paul Newlove and Scott Gibbs, got a try. But they were very solid and, like everyone else, made a contribution to a match that proves you don't need Wigan in the final to make it great.

The purists might think that there are too many tries, but with games being played in these conditions and at such pace, the high scores are here to stay. I don't think the fans will mind.

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