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44 hours ago
Wakefield Wildcats, the Super League surprise packet of 2004, picked up from where they left off with a stunning 28-16 victory at 2003 champions Bradford.
The Wildcats dominated the forward battle, enabling lively half-backs Jamie Rooney and Ben Jeffries to orchestrate a well-deserved first-ever Super League triumph at Odsal to prove there is life after Gareth Ellis.
Apart from a purple patch in which they scored two quick-fire tries, the Bulls were a clear second best to the superbly-drilled visitors.
Veteran Julian O?Neill, signed as a replacement for the departed Ellis, showed his class with his first touch, combining with impressive second rower Jamie Field to get Rooney over for the game?s first try after only four minutes.
Rooney, playing his first competitive match since August after recovering from ankle problems, finished with 16 points with five goals and two drop goals.
Bradford looked to have stemmed Wakefield?s early onslaught with the aid of two tries in four minutes which put them 10-6 in front.
Eighteen-year-old Karl Pryce, at 17st and 6ft 6in an imposing presence to match that of fellow winger Lesley Vainikolo, took a pass from older brother Leon to register his first try for the club.
And former skipper Robbie Paul showed a glimpse of his old self with a midfield burst to create a score for stand-off Iestyn Harris.
But the visitors repeatedly carved open the Bulls defence with their clever offload game and quick hands set up the position for winger Colum Halpenny to score their second try on 28 minutes after they ran the ball on the last tackle.
Rooney kicked a second penalty just before the break to make it 14-10 and scrum-half Ben Jeffries extended the Wildcats? lead within four minutes of the re-start when he went passed Deacon for a solo try.
Rooney kicked his fourth goal and put over a drop goal to make it 21-10 before Bradford launched a brief fightback.
Substitute winger Andy Smith had a try disallowed for a forward pass but there was no stopping second rower Jamie Langley after 52 minutes as he powered his way to the line.
Wakefield, who gave a first Super League start to 20-year-old centre Kevin King, clinched the win on 67 minutes when mightily-impressive prop Darrell Griffin forced his way over for a fourth try from close range.
Rooney kicked his fifth goal and wrapped up the scoring with a second drop goal.
Bradford: Reardon, K. Pryce, L. Pryce, Johnson, Vainikolo, Harris, Deacon, Vagana, Paul, Fielden, Meyers, Peacock, Radford. Replacements: Langley, Smith, Lynch, Parker.
Wakefield: M. Field, Halpenny, Demetriou, King, Tadulala, Rooney, Jeffries, Griffin, March, Korkidas, Elima, J. Field, O'Neill. Replacements: Obst, Wrench, Feather, Solomona.
Bradford: 16 (10) Tries: K Pryce, Harris, Langley Goals: Deacon 2
Wakefield: 28 (14) Tries: Rooney, Halpenny, Jeffries, Griffin Goals: Rooney 5 Drop Goals: Rooney 2