Wakefield edge Bradford in tense Million Pound Game
Last Updated: 03/10/15 6:33pm
Wakefield preserved their Super League status with a nail-biting 24-16 win over Bradford in the inaugural Million Pound Game in front of a sell-out 7,236 crowd at Belle Vue.
The Wildcats' 17-year stay in the top flight was on the line and it needed a try from hooker Scott Moore one minute from time to finally settle a tense affair.
It was a hat-trick of great escapes for the Wildcats, who survived thanks to a 29-17 last-day win over Castleford in 2006 and earned a reprieve in 2011 when Crusaders pulled out of Super League.
However, they were pushed all the way by Bradford, who looked a different side to the one which suffered a 48-18 hammering at Belle Vue six weeks earlier.
The Bulls enjoyed most of the early play, with prop Paul Clough held up over the line and winger Matty Blythe losing the ball as he attempted to cross at the corner.
It was against the run of play when the Wildcats scored the only try of the first half, with skipper Danny Kirmond striding through the visitors' defence after neat passing from half-backs Jacob Miller and Pita Godinet.
Joe Arundel added the conversion and crossed the line himself shortly afterwards, only to be brought back for a forward pass as Wakefield began to dominate.
Bulls loose forward Danny Addy had a try disallowed during a rare foray into the home side's 20-metre area and, as stalemate set in, Arundel was wide with a penalty kick at goal and Miller failed with a drop-goal attempt.
When prop Anthony Mullally, who had a spell on loan with Bradford in 2014, charged through a gap for Wakefield's second try three minutes into the second half, the game looked to be heading towards a predictable conclusion, especially when Jordan Tansey converted to make it 12-0.
However, the game sprung to life as the Bulls hit a purple patch to score twice in five minutes.
A superb pass around his back by Bradford captain Adrian Purtell got winger Danny Williams over at the left corner before Blythe profited from a ricochet to touch down on the right.
Wakefield loose forward Danny Washbrook then took Miller's pass to glide over for a third try but it was a two-point game once more when Purtell crashed over for the visitors.
Addy kicked his second goal and he had a chance to level the scores three minutes from the end when the visitors were awarded a penalty, but his kick went wide and Wakefield raced away to clinch victory through Moore's jinking run.