Wakefield 48-18 Bradford: Wildcats ease past Bulls
Last Updated: 16/08/15 1:08pm
Wakefield gave Bradford a strong indication of how difficult it will be for them to regain their Super League place on their way to a comfortable 48-18 victory at Belle Vue.
The Bulls lost their top-flight status last season but have the chance to bounce back at the first time of asking in the Qualifiers, although their defensive effort in their first real test will be of concern to coach James Lowes.
Wakefield lost 20 of their 23 regular season matches to finish bottom of Super League by a distance, but on Saturday's evidence they should have enough to stay up.
The Wildcats crossed five times in little over 20 first-half minutes through Jon Molloy, Michael Sio, Mickael Simon, Nick Scruton and Lee Smith.
Bradford opened their Super 8s campaign with a comfortable win over Sheffield last week and they showed glimpses of what they are capable of as Adrian Purtell and Dale Ferguson touched down either side of half-time.
Smith added a penalty after a lengthy stoppage as Richard Owen received treatment on a serious-looking leg injury before Reece Lyne raced clear to calm any lingering nerves.
Matty Ashurst and Jacob Miller added further tries before Bradford scored a late consolation through James Clare.
Wakefield needed just six minutes to open the scoring as Tim Smith put Molloy through a huge gap close to the Bradford line.
Lee Smith added the extras and then had an easier conversion after Sio finished off Miller's break, with the video referees called on to sign the try off.
A dismal start for the Bulls got even worse when key stand-off Lee Gaskell was forced off with a match-ending injury sustained trying to prevent the try.
It would not stop there as Wakefield made it three tries in the opening 12 minutes, Simon collecting a Tim Smith pass before beating two defenders and crashing over.
Former Bulls forward Scruton marked his 250th career appearance with a try after taking Sio's pass and benefiting from yet more soft Bradford defence.
The off-field officials had the final say on Scuton's effort but there was no doubt when Smith touched down after strolling through another gaping hole.
Smith maintained his 100 per cent record to make it 30-0 and then epitomised Wakefield's new-found confidence by preventing Harry Siejka's penalty from finding touch before starting a Wildcats counter-attack with a flick pass to
The home side's momentum was checked by Purtell's try seven minutes from the break after enterprising play by the Bulls, who crossed first after the restart as Ferguson barged his way over.
Danny Addy converted both from out wide and in a sign Wakefield were getting slightly worried, Smith kicked a routine penalty after Bradford were penalised for interference.
The four-score cushion sparked the Wildcats back into life and they made the points safe when Lyne raced clear to score after good work by Anthony Mullally and Miller.
Ashurst got his name on the scoresheet after taking Tim Smith's pass close to the line, although Lee Smith took some of the gloss off his own personal performance by missing his first conversion.
Miller went under the sticks for a try his performance merited but Clare had the last word when he strolled in on the final hooter.