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Warrington overcome Bradford Bulls to reach the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup
WOLVES boss Tony Smith has once again slammed a 'messy and slow' ruck area following his side's 32-16 defeat of Bradford Bulls.
In a scrappy and occasionally feisty encounter at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Smith's side overcame a slow start to fire six tries past Bradford and reach the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup.
Led by the hat-trick of Australian winger Joel Monaghan, Wolves showed strength and patience to grind down the resistance of Bulls' big pack and solid defence, recording only their third Challenge Cup victory in 10 games against Bulls.
But while Smith was delighted with the way his forwards dealt with Bradford's physical strength, he was less than impressed with the manner in which the game was officiated.
"My players are down there still frustrated," he said.
"They were frustrated by the stop start of the game, but we are getting used to it.
"We are giving away 100 penalties a week and we just have to shrug our shoulders and accept that is how it is now.
"That is the slowest ruck area we've had since the last time we had that same referee.
"It is just different each week.
"It was messy and slow and that is what sort of game you get as a result.
"It was frustrating for both sets of players and it becomes frustrating for people watching in the grandstands too."
Despite his problems with the manner in which James Child refereed the game, Smith was also glowing about his pack after they withstood a tough test from the visitors.
In particular he singled out his substitutes, which included Ben Harrison, Garreth Carvell, Mike Cooper and Simon Grix, who Smith utilised as a secondary hooker in the absence of the injured Michael Monaghan and young star Brad Dwyer.
"I thought our bench was terrific, he said.
"That was the best I've seen Benny Harrison play for a long time, he and Garreth Carvell really lifted us.
"They were very good and gave us some real good energy, as did Cooper.
"I am going to say that I thought Simon Grix was outstanding when he came on as a second hooker.
"He played out of dummy half and he showed some of his capabilities there.
"We were up against a big pack today, they have some big men and we dealt with them well."
There were also tries for Chris Riley, Ryan Atkins and the excellent Brett Hodgson, who helped Wolves' creativity with some clever kicks and passing, but Smith's praise was mainly reserved for a set of forwards that played Bradford at their own game and came out on top.
But the Wolves boss also admitted that Bulls were unlucky not get given a try following Adrian Purtell's grounding of a high kick early in the game, a try that could well have changed the course of the game in Bradford's favour.
"I thought Bradford were dreadfully unlucky too, when Atkins kicked the ball out for that first effort it looked like a try to me," he said.
"I thought it was a tough call on Bradford at that stage."
"They were going hard at our central channel, picking the ball up and going hard at Micky Higham.
"If that is where you are going to attack, you can get some back at you too, so that is what we did a little bit.
"We picked the ball up and went at back at them around that area until we hit some edges at stages.
"They are a big pack with some big forwards and both sides tried to sort each other out a bit.
"It was good in that respect, there was a good old forward battle going on and that doesn't do anyone any harm."