One team was going to break their 2021 duck as the Warrington Wolves took on the Bradford Bulls in round four of the 2021 Women’s Super League. Prior to today these two sides had only managed thirty-four points between them in five games while leaking two hundred and fifty-eight against much stronger and more established opposition.
Both sides came into the competition dessperate for a win to start their campaign and knowing that they needed to pick up points from games like this as pickings would be spare when they took on the more established sides in the competition.
It was rough and tough from the first whistle with no quarter asked or given. Sarah Dunn opened the scoring for the Bulls on thirteen after an eighty-metre solo try sidestepping a couple of tacklers and outpacing the chasers to go in under the sticks. Dunn added the conversion herself for a deserved 6-0 lead.
On seventeen the Bulls were in again when Dunn offloaded into the hands of Jessica Harrap to step past the Wire full back from five metre and ground. Dunn added the conversion and there was breathing space between the sides.
The Wolves pulled one back through Michelle Davis, just after a Bulls try had been ruled out, as she showed a clean pair of heels to the chasing Bulls defenders to go thirty metres on the angle to score. Davis added the conversion to narrow the margin to six points.
Two minutes after conceding the Bulls punished a mistake on the kick-off as the Wire carried the ball into touch. Cara Cookland crashed the line from short range and Dunn added the extras for 18-6.
Stacey Greenwood went over for the Bulls on thirty-six, their fourth try of the afternoon, as she threw the dummy and then spun out of a tackle after taking a Ramsden pass to go in. Dunn added her fourth conversion, the Bulls stretching into a 24-8 lead.
With seconds remaining on the clock the Bulls went in again, once again through Harrap, who was on hand to exploit a cross field passing move as a gap opened up in the defence and she went in on the angle. A fifth Dunn kick made it 30-6 at the interval, the Bulls dominant.
The first try of the second half came six minutes in as Ramsden got over herself with a scoot from acting half back, pushing off the defenders as she threw the dummy to go in. Dunn hit the woodwork with her conversion, but the game and points were now in the bag.
But the Wolves weren’t going to give up and it was Dani Bound who broke downfield to score their second on fifty with a great solo effort. Davis added the conversion for 12-34.
On fifty-five Georgia Sutherland got the third Warrington try with a brilliant effort from ten metres out after the Bulls conceded a penalty for a ball steal. Davis was again accurate with the boot for 18-34, the Bulls nerves starting to fray.
Another Sutherland try from Sutherland, again a solo effort, put the Wolves within striking distance of the Bulls on the hour mark. Davis added the conversion and what had looked like an insurmountable lead for the Bulls had rapidly dissolved to just ten points.
The ship was steadied on seventy-one when Alice Fisher managed to burrow under the Warrington defence and get the ball on the line for a crucial score. Dunn was able to add the conversion and the lead was sixteen points with eight minutes remaining.
Sutherland completed her hat-trick with the final hooter warming up as she threw the dummy and went through a tired Bulls defensive line from twenty metres. Davis was unable to add the conversion, the final margin being twelve points.
In a game of two halves the Bulls managed to establish a large enough lead to deny Warrington despite a great second half fightback. Sarah Dunn controlled the game from Bradford’s perspective while Warrington’s standout player was without doubt Georgia Sutherland who picked up a couple of tries. A rough and tough advert for the women’s game and thoroughly entertaining.
Warrington Wolves: Davis (T, 3G), Bound (T), Sutherland (3T). Subs: .
Bradford Bulls: Cookland (T), Donald, Bose, Dunn (T, 6G), Alexander, Wainwright-Morley, Greenwood (T), Herrick, Ramsden (T), Fisher (T), Haley, Kilburn, Harrap (2T). Subs: Taylor, Slack, Ramsden, Grace.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 4-12, 6-12, 6-16, 6-18, 6-22, 6-24, 6-28, 6-30 : HT : 6-34, 10-34, 12-34, 18-34, 22-34, 24-34, 24-38, 24-40, 28-40 : FT.