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Bradford crush Salford
Bradford moved above Warrington into fourth place in the engage Super League after a 10-try win over Salford by 58-12, indicating they may yet be a force in the play-offs despite their inconsistent season.
Able to pick from strength for the first time this year, the Bulls - who have contested the last four grand finals - have now scored 190 points in their last three home games, albeit against the bottom three teams.
It was a scrappy start by both sides with numerous handling errors before centre Shontayne Hape provided a touch of class with a superb solo try to put the Bulls ahead after nine minutes. The Kiwi, starting a match for only a second time this season after a major knee injury looked to be back to his best as he sidestepped three defenders in a dash to the line from near halfway after his wing partner Lesley Vainikolo had given the Bulls impetus with a typical charging run out of defence.
Between them, Vainikolo and Hape scored 63 tries last season and the Bulls are hoping they will play a key role in the play-off race.
Bradford stretched their lead after 18 minutes when captain Jamie Peacock crossed from close-range enabling Paul Deacon to have his second goal.
But the home crowd?s expectation of a points spree was halted - ironically by a Bulls player, winger Andy Smith who is on season long-loan spell with Salford.
He had an easy task to cross on the left after two successive penalties had given Salford their first real chance to mount a significant attack.
The Bulls continued to boss an uninspiring contest but wasted numerous chances through sloppy handling before Iestyn Harris jinked through for the third try after 28 minutes.
Then Leon Pryce, rumoured to be on his way to St Helens next season, forced his way over after Ben Harris had been stopped just short to set up a 22-6 interval lead.
The Bulls may have lacked authority in the first half but began the second period with a bang, racing in for three tries in a seven minutes spell as they began to toy with a tiring Salford defence.
Iestyn Harris was able to run in from halfway for his second try after being fed superbly by Pryce, then full-back Mick Withers laid on a score for substitute Andy Lynch while second rower Paul Johnson was next to cross after brilliant work by Deacon, who added his sixth goal to make it 40-6 after 54 minutes.
Having lost key forward Sean Rutgerson early on Salford were struggling to cope with the power of the home pack.
But as the Bulls became unduly careless in their eagerness for more points the Reds had some respite when tireless hooker Malcolm Alker raced in from 70 metres after an interception.
It was a solitary gesture, however, and Bradford responded immediately with Deacon grabbing their eighth try.
Vainikolo and Hape added late tries and with Deacon rested Iestyn Harris added two goals to emphasise the Bulls? superiority and put them in good heart for Friday?s derby clash with leaders Leeds at Headingley.
Bradford: Withers, L. Pryce, B. Harris, Hape, Vainikolo, I. Harris, Deacon, Peacock, Henderson, Fielden, Johnson, Meyers, Radford. Replacements: Lynch, Paul, Vagana, Parker.
Salford: Hodgson, Smith, Beverley, Littler, Stewart, Hartley, Robinson, Rutgerson, Alker, Stringer, Sibbit, Brocklehurst, Charles. Replacements: Fitzpatrick, Haggerty, Coley, McAvoy.
Bradford (22) 58. Tries: Hape 2, Peacock, I. Harris 2, L. Pryce, Lynch, Johnson, Deacon, Vainikolo. Goals: Deacon 7, I. Harris 2.
Salford (6) 12. Tries: Smith, Alker. Goals: Charles 2.
Referee: Ronnie Laughton (Barnsley)
Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for the above review