Saturday 25th February 2012, 19:45
Super League - Round: 4
Ben Cockayne, Steve Southern, Danny Kirmond, Richie Mathers,
Keith Lulia, Elliott Whitehead 3, Brett Kearney 2,
Jarrod Sammut 6,
Attendance: 6,934 Official: B Thaler Venue: The Rapid Solicitors Stadium
Full Time Report
Elliott Whitehead claimed a hat-trick of tries as Bradford Bulls bounced back from their 10-try mauling by Wigan Warriors to gain a handsome victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
The 22-year-old second-rower, in only his third game back from a five-match biting ban, grabbed an interception try just before half-time to edge the Bulls in front and completed his second treble for the club as they ran riot in the second half.
The real hero, however, was Australian half-back Ben Jeffries, now in his second spell at Bradford after two stints with Wakefield, who caused havoc for the Wildcats defence with his tactical kicking.
There was also a stand-out performance from 18-year-old forward John Bateman while Jarrod Sammut displayed expert marksmanship with six goals from as many attempts as Bradford secured their second successive away win.
There was little sign of what was to follow during a seesaw first half in which the lead changed hands three times.
Bradford coach Mick Potter had not taken his seat by the time the Wildcats had opened the scoring just 40 seconds after kick-off.
A trademark offload by Ali Lauitiiti put the home side in a great attacking position and winger Ben Cockayne beat Elliott Kear to touch down Isaac John’s perfectly-judged kick.
The Bulls equalised in similar fashion, centre Keith Lulia gathering Jeffries’ kick to score his first try in Stobart Super League, and Sammut kicked the first of his six goals to put his side in front.
Wakefield captain Steve Southern then scored his first try for the club after taking Danny Washbrook’s defence-splitting pass, and John’s only conversion of the night made it 10-6.
The Wildcats would have stretched their lead had they made more use of a clean break from hooker Paul Aiton but it was the visitors who regained the lead five minutes before the break when Whitehead intercepted John’s pass to score a 50-metre try.
Wakefield went back in front three minutes into the second half when second-rower Danny Kirmond forced his way over for a solo try but John missed the goal and the Bulls hit them with four tries in 15 minutes to open up a 22-point lead.
Jeffries placed kicks accurately on the last tackle for both full-back Brett Kearney and Whitehead to touch down and Sammut maintained his accuracy to make it 22-14.
As the visitors gained further momentum, prop Craig Kopczak went over from Heath L’Estrange only for referee Ben Thaler to disallow the try for a forward pass, but it was all Bradford by then.
Whitehead completed his hat-trick after 61 minutes, courtesy of another pinpoint kick from Jeffries, and Kearney took Bryn Hargreaves’ pass to notch his second.
Wakefield finished a well-beaten side but they at least had the final say when full-back Richard Mathers scored a consolation try.