Wakefield Trinity Wildcats sealed their place in next season’s First Utility Super League with a 24-16 victory against Bradford Bulls. The Million Pound Game was hyped up by the RFL and Sky Sports, and the match turned out as expected; edgy and nervy, with desperation thrown in during the final quarter.
Bradford came very close to breaking the deadlock on 13 minutes through Matty Blythe but exceptional defensive work by Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone was enough to keep the scoreline level. The scoreboard did start ticking a couple of minutes later as the hosts went in front. Wakefield captain Danny Kirmond scored one of the easiest tries of his career following a short pass from Pita Godinet. The try was converted by Joe Arundel, and that was the last scoring act in the first half. The Wildcats had a slender advantage and were 40 minutes away from another year, at least, of top tier rugby league.
Things got better for Brian Smith’s men shortly after the restart when Anthony Mullally, who will be plying his trade at Leeds Rhinos in 2016, walked over for an easy four-pointer after Scott Moore lured the defenders in from dummy-half. A quick reply was needed by the Bulls, and they got one when a piece of offloading magic from Adrian Purtell led to Danny Williams touching down. Yet again, it was six points separating the two sides but Wakefield’s lead was soon to be cut further. Matty Blythe showed instinct by playing to the whistle after scrappy play by Jay Pitts of Bradford and Danny Washbrook of Wakefield resulted in the ball ricocheting into the in-goal area. Blythe added the downward pressure and the try was given, but Danny Addy couldn’t convert so the Wildcats held a two point lead. On the hour mark, the Super League side extended their lead as Washbrook crossed the chalk. However, as the season came down to the final quarter of the Million Pound Game, Bradford weren’t giving in and Purtell scored his second try of the afternoon with 15 minutes of the match remaining. The tie entered the dying embers when Wakefield conceded a penalty 25 metres out from their own line, Bradford opted to kick the penalty goal but Addy couldn’t level things up. A last foray in attack for the Bulls ended abruptly when Godinet stripped the ball out of Dale Ferguson’s grasp in a one-on-one challenge, despite Bradford’s claims of there being two Wildcats defenders in the tackle. From the turnover, Scott Moore made a break and scored with a minute of the match to go. The try broke the hearts of the visiting Bulls fans but for everybody associated with Wakefield, they had witnessed yet another Super League survival.
Prediction – Wakefield by 10
Result – Wakefield by 8