Gale kicks Bradford Bulls to victory over Wakefield Wildcats

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LUKE Gale produced the perfect kicking game in testing conditions to help crisis-hit Bradford Bulls to a 34-26 victory over Wakefield Wildcats at Odsal.

Both sides scored five tries apiece but it was the kicking of Gale, who converted all five tries and kicked two penalties, that was the difference in what was largely a close-fought Super League contest.

Wakefield traded tries with their hosts, who have fears of entering administration next week hanging over their heads, throughout but they didn't make life easy for themselves, trailing 12-0 early on - and it could have been worse.

Elliott Whitehead, playing just 48 hours after attending his father's funeral, put Bradford ahead just two minutes in before Keith Lulia added a second try five minutes later to put Mick Potter's men in control. Lulia came close to adding a third try but Wakefield stemmed the Bulls flow.

Head coach Richard Agar saw his side come from behind against Leeds in their previous outing and they did the same against another West Yorkshire rival. Paul Aiton crossed before the hosts hit back through Shaun Ainscough. But Ben Cockayne, Tim Smith and Frankie Mariano all went over the whitewash to see the visitors lead 20-18 at the break.

Bulls started the second half stronger and Lulia doubled his tally for the afternoon before Gale kicked a penalty. Kyle Amor's try, converted by Paul Sykes, playing against his parent club, had Wakefield level just after the hour mark.

But Elima scored the final, crucial, try of the match four minutes later. Gale provided a grubber kick that bounced back off the post and allowed the Frenchman to scoop it up before touching down. Gale, who else, complemented his conversion with another penalty to wrap-up the scoring.

Wakefield's day was made worse with Steve Southern limping off midway through the second half. Agar confirmed post-match that the Australian had suffered an ankle injury but the extent wasn't known.

Bulls: Kearney, Ainscough, Platt, Lulia, Pryce, Jeffries, Gale, Elima, L'Estrange, Hargreaves, Bateman, Whitehead, Langley. Subs: Burgess, Manuokafoa, Sammut, Olbison.

Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Mellars, Cockayne, Sykes, Smith, Amor, Aiton, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Subs: Wood, Wilkes, Southern, Mariano.

Attendance: 11,236.

Referee: Robert Hicks.

See next week's Wakefield Express for full report and reaction.