The stadium they used to call Fortress Odsal was more like Foot-rest Odsal last night as Warrington, themselves among Super League’s strugglers this year, stretched out and relaxed for the most comfortable of victories.
Chris Hicks led the way with 30 points from nine goals from 10 attempts and a hat-trick of tries, but this was a win that will do wonders for the whole side, however abject Bradford might have been. Their coach, Steve McNamara could only look on in horror as increasingly dissatisfied Bull fans called for his head.
“They are entitled to their opinions,” he said. “But no-one is hurting as much as the players and the coaches. It’ s nights like this that confirm for me that I really want to do this job.”
Bradford had a combination of bad luck and even worse judgement to blame for a truly dreadful first quarter. If they were unfortunate that an early scrum-feed decision went against them, there was no excuse for the way their defence opened up to allow Louis Anderson to stroll through from that.
It was a fair indicator of what was to come. Five minutes later, Sam Burgess lost the ball in a tackle and the Bulls' defence again froze as Hicks cruised in. Matt Cook was penalised for ball-stealing for the next try, again scored by Hicks, and then a cross-field kick from Lee Briers allowed Matt King to catch and touch-down as he pleased.
It took the introduction of David Solomona from the bench to briefly ignite Bradford, when he took Terry Newton’s pass and dummied his way through. However, Paul Johnson fielding a kick and sending Chris Riley 80 metres for the fifth Warrington try, soon followed by the sixth, when King shipped a simple pass to the unmarked Johnson.
Michael Platt got over for another token effort for the Bulls before half-time, but it got comically worse when Bradford made a complete hash of Chris Bridge’s restart to allow Mickey Higham to score. Solomona did get one back, but further Warrington tries from Lee Briers, Hicks and Higham made it an even more miserable before Ben Jeffries went over for the Bulls.
“We played some very attractive rugby league,” said the Wolves’ coach, Tony Smith, “and hopefully we can build some confidence from that.”
Bradford: Halley; Sheriffe, Sykes, Platt, Tadulala; Menzies, Jeffries; Kopczak, Newton, Lynch, Langley, Cook, Burgess. Substitutes used: Olbison, Scruton, Solomona, Worrincy.
Warrington: Riley; Hicks, Bridge, King, Johnson; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison. Substitutes used: Higham, V Anderson, Wood, Cooper.
Referee: T Alibert (France).
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