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Super 8's The Qualifiers

The Qualifiers Round 2 – Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Bradford Bulls Preview

Wakefield make a return to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium after their round 1 match with Salford Red Devils at the AJ Bell Stadium. Brian Smith’s Wildcats lost their first Qualifiers game so they’ll be targeting a win against Bradford to make amends. The Bulls got off to a great start in the seven-game series as they triumphed over Sheffield comfortably at the Provident Stadium last Sunday.

Last Time Out

Wakefield travelled to Salford for the only all Super League match in round 1 of the Qualifiers. After 35 minutes, the visitors were 16-0 down due to a double from Josh Griffin as well as a lone try by George Griffin. Jacob Miller got a try back before half-time for the Wildcats, the half-back also scored the first try of the second half as Wakefield cut the deficit further. Danny Washbrook then crossed the whitewash to give Brian Smith’s men a slender advantage, something which was relinquished when Cory Paterson notched his first four-pointer of proceedings. An interception try by Reece Lyne swung the pendulum Wakefield’s way again, a penalty goal from Lee Smith extended his side’s lead to four points but Salford finished strong and won the game as a result. Rangi Chase and Paterson both visited the whitewash during the final ten minutes to keep the spoils at the AJ Bell. Salford had reacted well to Lyne’s potential winning try and Ian Watson will be proud of his players, who showed a lot of character. It’s back to the drawing board for Wakefield coach Smith and his troops, a loss to Bradford at the weekend could spell disaster for the Super League club.

Bradford hammered Sheffield at the Provident Stadium. The Bulls welcomed back Lee Gaskell to their side and he improved their attack tenfold, the former St Helens scrum-half scored a hat-trick of tries on his return and had a hand in a few more too. A Danny Williams double-salvo inside eight minutes set the game up perfectly for Bradford, who dominated from the beginning and throughout. Gaskell scored his first of three tries on 14 minutes before impressive back-rower Jay Pitts crossed the stripe just over ten minutes later. Misi Taulapapa opened Sheffield’s account for the afternoon in the latter stages of the half, but there was still time for Adam Henry to extend the hosts’ advantage before the players went to the sheds. After the restart Gaskell scored two tries to emphasise Bradford’s superiority in the tie. James Clare also got in on the act with a debut try on in the 72nd minute. Not even a Menzie Yere consolation could dampen spirits for the Bradford faithful who will be very optimistic of their team’s chances, more so when new signing Dane Nielsen enters the fray.

Key Battle

One thing is for sure this Saturday, the forwards will be putting on a fiery show for the Sky Sports cameras. Wakefield will be wanting to stand their ground on home turf as they look to dominate the midfield against their Kingstone Press Championship counterparts. Nick Scruton, Scott Moore, and Scott Anderson lined up in the front-row for Wakefield against Salford. Even though the trio are Super League players in their own right, they will be faced head-on by a Bradford pack who can’t be underestimated at any cost.. The starting prop forwards for Bradford last weekend, Paul Clough and Adam Sidlow, hit the ground running and really got stuck into the opposition. Also in the starting front-row was hooker Adam O’Brien, and he had a big impact as per usual for the Bulls out of dummy-half.

Prediction

Wakefield will be hurting from their agonising loss to Salford last Sunday so a win in this match will ease those wounds. But Bradford have got their key players back to full fitness now, meaning they’re more of a dangerous proposition now than at any other time in 2015. A win for Bradford at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Saturday will put them in a very good position after the first two games but teams fighting for survival, such as Wakefield, are going to be very tough to overcome – Wakefield by 8

I study Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland. Write about the Kingstone Press Championship for a few websites, as well as doing match reports and previews for Sheffield Eagles.

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