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SPIRIT OF 55: Defence as stretched as fans on Odsal terraces
THE latest stop on this stuttering season was to visit a Bradford side that are fighting desperately for their Super League lives.
The match turned out to be one of those that never looked like being anything other than a close contest.
Warrington did manage to create two tries within the first 20 minutes, probably the most positive thing to take from the match was that they did manage to create tries from close to the line, but in between those two tries Bradford scored two of their own.
The try of the match gave Wiarrington a six-point lead, Michael Monaghan blocked a grubber kick close to his own line, then pounced on the loose ball and flicked it up to the rampaging Atkins, who made it to around the half way line before needing some help.
Fortunately it was there on his right in the form of Joel Monaghan who carried the ball himself for a few yards before passing on to Penny, who raced away from the covering defence to score.
Each team scored again before half time, the Warrington try coming from Joel Monaghan who played in the right centre role as he did the previous week, giving them a 22-16 lead.
In the second half both teams took turns to attack once again, but Warrington weren’t as efficient at turning those attacks into tries as they had been in the second half.
Bradford levelled the scores soon enough and even when Matty Russell showed great strength, perserverance and agility to score a long range effort close to the posts to re-establish Warrington's six-point lead, Bradford’s confidence wasn’t shaken.
Two tries in the space of around three minutes inside the last 10 minutes gave Bradford a four-point lead that was stretched to six when Michael Monaghan’s desperate drop out was penalised for not going the required 10 metres.
At the end of the match the players looked confused and disappointed in equal measure. The attack is looking too reliant on individual runners and starting to be the one thing no attack wants to be – predictable.
The penalties for obstruction are a sign of lack of cohesion and in this game there were times when the defence looked as stretched as fans are on those massive Odsal terraces.
Another disappointing loss, more lessons learned, questions to be asked and belief and spirit to keep up.
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