Bradford coach Francis Cummins described his team’s first win in eight Super League games as “massive” after they battled from behind to beat Warrington 34-28.
The victory also brought to an end a run of 10 straight defeats against the Wolves but, more significantly for Cummins, it hauled the Bulls off of the foot of the table for the first time since they were deducted six points for going into administration earlier this year.
“It was massive,” Cummins said. “To say we only had two props, we knew it was going to be a tough old day.
“I thought the young lads were terrific – young Sam Bates played his second spell with an injury in a really sensitive place and Alex Mellor, who played 80 minutes for the under-19s on Thursday.”
The Bulls, already without a number of key players including Manase Manuokafoa and Chev Walker, also lost Luke George to a persistent rib injury just before the start and then had influential full-back Brett Kearney taken to hospital for x-rays on a suspected broken thumb.
“I’ve talked before about character, but usually in defeat and how we’ve worked hard within those games – today it won us the game,” Cummins continued. “It was tough last week, losing three props, and we are lucky that we’ve got Antonio Kaufusi in (on loan from Huddersfield).
“It was a massive win for us – without a doubt the most satisfying win of the season.
“Look at our team – we were down to bare bones again and against a great team like Warrington.
“It’s amazing what you can do when you all work for each other.
“We’ve been trying to get to zero points from week three and, if we can keep this character, get a few more people back and get a little bit more game-management, then we are going to put some teams under a bit of pressure.”
Warrington have now lost four of their last six games, but were never behind at Odsal until the 73rd minute.
Warrington took the lead through Anthony England’s first try for the club and went on to score further touchdowns from Chris Bridge, Kevin Penny, Joel Monaghan and Matty Russell, with Bridge kicking four of his five conversion attempts against his old side.
Bradford replied with a brace from Adrian Purtell, plus further tries from Jamie Foster – a late replacement for the injured George – Kearney, Tom Olbison and Elliot Kear as scoring see-sawed.
At one stage trailing by eight points and still 28-22 down with barely 10 minutes remaining, the west Yorkshire side struck twice in quick succession, through Kear and Purtell tries, with Foster adding one conversion and a late penalty for a personal tally of five goals from seven attempts.
Bradford: Gaskell, Kear, Arundel, George, Henry, Kearney, Gale, Kaufusi, Diskin, Sidlow, Purtell, Pitts, Addy. Substitutes: Olbison, O’Brien, Mellor, Bates.
Warrington: Russell, J. Monaghan, R. Evans, Atkins, Penny, C. Bridge, O’Brien, Hill, M. Monaghan, England, Waterhouse, Laithwaite, B. Evans. Substitutes: Asotasi, Harrison, Currie, Higham.
Referee: R Silverwood (RFL).