ESL Preview - Round 9 - Sunday games

Warrington Wolves V Bradford Bulls

Warrington coach Paul Cullen believes his side can succeed where they narrowly failed last year and beat Bradford at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday.

The Wolves twice hosted Brian Noble?s team last year and were unlucky not to win, forcing a 22-22 draw in April and losing just 28-27 in September.

Last week?s 80-14 Powergen Cup thrashing of Featherstone apart, Bradford ? after four engage Super League defeats in eight games ? have not been their usual imposing selves this year and Cullen is hoping to take advantage.

Cullen said: ?The mood is one that is looking forward to testing ourselves again against one of the best teams in the competition.

?We have enjoyed our games against the Bulls recently but are determined to come away from this one with the win, as opposed to a one-point defeat or a draw.

?Their form could be considered as indifferent but an 80-point scoreline, regardless of the opposition, shows things are back on track.

?They had the luxury of resting key players for their cup game last week, when we had to play players who were very short on game time.?

Warrington have also struggled for consistency but their morale-boosting Easter derby win over Widnes was followed by a battling cup defeat at Leeds and Cullen sees encouraging signs.

He added: ?I was pleased with the effort from most but ultimately disappointed we did not have enough to take what would have been a deserved win.?

The Wolves are boosted by the return of Paul Noone and Toa Kohe Love from injury while Bradford are set to welcome back Michael Withers after a lengthy absence and Lesley Vainikolo.

Bulls coach Brian Noble said: ?We need to kick on from where we left off at Featherstone. We did all that was asked of us there and we need to carry on in the same vein this week.

?We have trained well and could have some players returning and we need to start positively and be patient in what we do.

?Warrington are a very good side and their league position (10th out of 12) belies what a good side they are. They played very well last week and were unlucky to lose at Headingley.?

Warrington Wolves v Bradford Bulls, The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Sunday, April 10 2005

Warrington 18-man: Grose, Faa?fili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Briers, Nathan Wood, Leikvoll, Mark Gleeson, Hilton, Appo, Wainwright, Clarke, Lima, Stevens, Pickersgill, Paul Wood, Westwood, Noone.

Bradford 18-man: Deacon, Ferres, Fielden, Harris, Langley, Lynch, Meyers, Parker, Paul, Peacock, Pratt, Leon Pryce, Karl Pryce, Radford, Reardon, Vagana, Vainikolo, Withers.

Referee: I Smith __________________ Hull FC V Widnes Vikings

Hull will hope to follow up their impressive Challenge Cup win at Wakefield with victory over struggling Widnes at the KC Stadium.

Hull have made an impressive start to the campaign and have a fifth-round cup tie against Bradford to look forward to, but coach John Kear has warned his players not to under-estimate the Vikings.

Kear said: ?We have eight Super League points to play for before Bradford so we need to take each game as it comes.

?We are searching for consistency in our game and if we can win on Sunday then we?re going some way towards that.

?The players experienced the elation of a big win at Wakefield last week and I want them to feel that every week.?

Hull are again without former Melbourne forward Stephen Kearney who, soon after recovering from a pectoral injury, now has a hamstring strain.

Winger Gareth Raynor is also out with a knee problem and makeshift hooker Motu Tony, filling in for Richard Swain in the front row, will play with a splint to protect injured fingers.

Widnes, who have won just two games, are boosted by the return of half-back Owen Craigie and prop Terry O?Connor.

Winger Richie Barnett, on loan from Hull, could make his first Vikings appearance against his parent club.

Hull FC v Widnes Vikings, KC Stadium, Sunday April 10 2005

Hull 18-man: Briscoe, Blacklock, Yeaman, R. Horne, Dowes, McMenemy, Cooke, Tony, Thackray, Saxton, Higgins, Carvell, Brough, McNicholas, G. Horne, Washbrook, Whiting, Last.

Widnes 18-man: Moule, Emelio, Craigie, Myler, O?Connor, Cassidy, Stankevitch, Finnigan, Hulse, Whitaker, Frame, Mills, Fa-alogo, Smith, Bibey, Holmes, Viane, Barnett.

Referee: R Laughton

Thanks to: for another excellent article.