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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 October, 2003, 19:33 GMT 20:33 UK
Bulls earn Grand Final triumph
By Phil Gordos

Bradford Bulls' James Lowes and Robbie Paul lift the trophy
Bradford claimed an unprecedented double by adding the Tetley's Super League crown to the Challenge Cup title they won in April by seeing off the threat of Wigan.

In front of a full house at Old Trafford, the Bulls came from 6-0 down to score their second Grand Final over the Warriors in the three years and make amends for the last-gasp defeat at the hands of St Helens 12 months ago.

Saturdays victory was rich reward for a Bradford side that has set new standards this season.

For Wigan, there is at least the consolation of being the first team outside the top two to reach the Super League show piece.

We turned it around and then for 60-65 minutes we dominated
Bulls coach Brian Noble
As expected, both sides refused to give an inch in the opening 10 minutes.

When Brett Dallas finally breach the Bulls' defence on 12 minutes, he was hauled down brilliantly by man-of-the-match Stuart Reardon.

Andrew Farrell missed a routine kick at goal after James Lowes was penalised for a high tackle, the ball rebounding off an upright.

But that blemish was soon forgotten when Danny Tickle sidestepped one Bradford player before shrugging off another two on his way to the line.

Bradford 25 (4)
Tries: Reardon, Lowes, Hape
Drops: Deacon
Goals: Deacon 6
Wigan 12 (6)
Tries: Tickle, Radlinski
Goals: Farrell

Farrell rarely misses two kicks in a row, his conversion opening up a 6-0 lead for the Warriors, who had made it to the final with a tense 23-22 win over Leeds.

Lowes almost decapitated Brian Carney with another high shot midway through the half, but a Paul Deacon penalty reduced the gap to four points after referee Karl Kirkpatrick ruled that the ball had been illegally ripped from Robbie Paul's grasp.

The Bulls had thought they had drawn level when Leslie Vainikolo pounced on a loose ball to touch down after Carney had failed to hold onto a high kick from Deacon.

Bu the video referee judged that the ball had been knocked forward by the New Zealand winger as he challenged Carney in the air.

Bradford did get on the scoreboard again just before half-time when Deacon kicked his second penalty of the evening.

And they did not have to wait long after the break to finally tie the scores.

Another Deacon two-pointer after Daniel Gartner had been tacked before he received the ball was responsible for bringing the two sides level.

Bradford were bigger and stronger in the collision and it took a lot out of us
Wigan coach Mike Gregory
Wigan suffered a major blow on 51 minutes when Carney was stretchered off.

And when Reardon jinked his way to the line four minutes later, the Warriors looked to be running out of steam.

The same could not be said of Shontayne Hape, who scythed his way through the Warriors defence for his side's second try on the hour mark.

With Deacon landing his fifth successful kick, the gap was suddenly 12 points in Bradford's favour.

Wigan huffed and puffed in an effort to get back into the game, but their fate was sealed when Deacon kicked a drop goal with 10 minutes left.

Kris Radlinski gave the Warriors hope when he touched down under the posts after Martin Aspinwall had cut the Bulls' defence to ribbons.

But even that ray of light was extinguished when evergreen hooker Lowes scored Bradford's third try, again coverted by Deacon.


Bradford: Reardon, Vaikona, Withers, Hape, Vainikolo, Pratt, Deacon, Vagana, Lowes, Fielden, Gartner, Peacock, Forshaw. Replacements: Paul, L. Pryce, Radford, Anderson.

Wigan: Radlinski, Carney, Aspinwall, Hodgson, Dallas, O'Loughlin, Robinson, Pongia, Newton, C. Smith, Cassidy, Tickle, Farrell. Replacements: Johnson, O'Connor, M. Smith, Hock.

Referee: Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington)




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's David Oates
"It was Bradford's night, it's been the Bulls' season"


Bradford's Paul Deacon
"To win a Grand Final by that margin takes a special effort"



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