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Wolves too strong for Bulls
Warrington go three points clear at top of Stobart Super League
Ryan Atkins scored the 100th try of his career as Warrington held off a brave Bradford challenge to secure a 23-10 victory at Odsal.
Atkins' 80-metre solo effort finally settled a close-fought game and enabled the Wolves to maintain their unbeaten record and go three points clear at the top of Stobart Super League.
The result leaves Bradford clinging on to eighth spot after losing all three home games so far but Mick Potter's side could take plenty of encouragement from their display.
The Bulls outplayed Warrington for long periods and had two first-half tries disallowed, but ultimately could only cross the try-line twice - though Matt Diskin and Jason Crookes - compared to the Wolves' four scores.
Wolves made a poor start as Lee Briers failed to find touch with a relieving penalty before the visitors conceded a fifth-minute try to Bradford hooker Diskin, who forced his way over from acting half-back on the last tackle.
Jarrod Sammut added the conversion to give the Yorkshire side a 6-0 lead, but Briers almost made amends when he jinked his way to the Bulls line but was unable to ground the ball and, clearly hurt by his effort, was forced off the field shortly afterwards.
Warrington did reduce the deficit when winger Chris Riley took advantage of a cut-out pass by full-back Brett Hodgson to cross in the corner on 18 minutes.
However, the Bulls had enjoyed much of the pressure for the remainder of the half and had two tries disallowed by video referee Ben Thaler.
Jarrod Sammut had a charge-down effort ruled out for offside while Thaler ruled that slow-motion replays showed centre Michael Platt had a foot in touch when he planted the ball over the line after he collected Elliott Kear's clever palm-back of Ben Jeffries' kick.
Instead of being comfortably in front by the break, the home side found themselves trailing after Micky Higham dummied his way over from acting half-back and Chris Bridge's conversion made it 10-6.
Warrington had Briers back for the start of the second half but only at the expense of Hodgson, who succumbed to a knock he took before the break, meaning Ratchford switched to full-back.
Bradford continued to come forward with some neat build-up play but they could not match their opponents' superior finishing.
A promising move broke down when Sammut's kick was charged down and Atkins picked up the loose ball to race 80 metres for a breakaway try, with the video referee providing another point of contention when he ruled that Chris Riley had not been guilty of obstruction.
Former Bradford player Bridge converted but then angered the home crowd by apparently using his elbow on a prone Jeffries. Referee Thiery Alibert took no action other than to award a penalty.
The Wolves made sure of their fourth win when second rower Trent Waterhouse stretched out to plant the ball on the line for his side's fourth try and Briers put over a drop goal, although Bradford grabbed a consolation try score when winger Crookes scored in the corner.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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