Rugby league : Bradley swings it Bradford's way

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Warrington 20

Bradford 30

Bradford's signing of Graeme Bradley produced one of the lesser ripples of excitement to come out of Odsal during Brian Smith's year in charge. British supporters thought they knew what to expect of the gangling, lugubrious Australian from his previous stint with Castleford; workmanlike effort and not much else.

But Bradley has turned out to be the well spring of much of Bradford's creativity during their startling improvement this year, something that has rarely been better illustrated than by the way he set up the two tries that swung this game.

Bradford were trailing 10-4 and, on their first half performance, fortunate to be only six points in arrears. They were also playing a man short, with Paul Medley in the sin bin; although as Wigan will testify, that is not necessarily a handicap for the Bulls.

Three minutes into the second half, Bradley made the crucial break of the match, rousing himself after an uncharacteristically quiet first 40 minutes to open up the Warrington defence and slip the ball inside for Matt Calland to sell the dummy and romp over.

Steve McNamara's goal put Warrington level and, 11 minutes later, Bradley was instrumental in giving them the lead for the first time, running at the Warrington defence and off-loading to Brian McDermott to enable the prop to score from close range.

A conversion and a penalty from McNamara put Bradford in a position of comfort they could scarcely have imagined in the first half, before Bradley again began an attack that ended with Glen Tomlinson switching play intelligently to send in Bernard Dwyer.

Two separate bites on opposite sides of the field resulted in Mark Forster and Sonny Nickle being sin-binned. The main contest was over by then, although Toa Kohe-Love had a try disallowed that could have made the final minutes interesting.

By the time Mateaki Masi did go over it was too late for Warrington. Bradley hit back with a richly deserved try of his own before Lee Penny crossed again in the last minute for a Warrington side that had dominated the first half.

Paul Sculthorpe had set up one try for Richard Henare and Paul Hulme had done the same for Chris Rudd, but Bradford, despite falling well below the form that had seen them beat St Helens and Wigan in their last two games, kept in touch with the first two of McNamara's seven goals. And all the time, Bradley, the player known as The Penguin, was hovering more like a bird of prey to ensure that it would be Bradford's night.

Warrington: Penny; Forster, Rudd, Roper, Henare; Kohe-Love, Swann; Hilton, Watson, Chambers, Hulme, Cullen, Sculthorpe.

Subs used: Finau, Mafi, Jones. Not used: Barrow

Bradford: Spruce; Tamali, Calland, Loughlin, Scales; Bradley, Paul; McDermott, Lowes, Fairbank, Donougher, Dwyer, McNamara.

Subs used: Thomlinson, Christie, Medley, Nickle.

Referee: S Cummings, Widnes.

Comments