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Round 4: Bradford too strong for
Bradford Bulls maintained early-season pressure on St Helens with a nine-try extravaganza at the Stade Aime Giral against newcomers Catalans Dragons.
The match was preceded by one-minute?s silence in memory of lifelong Bulls fan Graham Woodcock who sadly passed away on his arrival in Perpignan earlier in the day and he could not have had a more fitting tribute than this performance.
Bulls were immediately on the attack and made their first spell of pressure tell as early as the fifth minute with a well-worked try from Shontayne Hape after Paul Deacon?s kick had given them good field position.
Deacon made good the first of seven successful conversions and on their very next attack Brian Noble?s men ripped holes in the Catalan defence before Ian Henderson sent prop Stuart Fielden crashing over just three minutes later.
The scoring spree continued, giving the Bulls a 24-0 lead after the opening quarter when first Andy Lynch and then Jamie Langley - the latter after a superb four-man handling move - crossed the Dragons? whitewash.
Spurred on by some fervent home support among the 9,373 in attendance Catalans hit back when Justin Murphy got on the end of a Sean Rudder kick to score, but their riposte was brief.
Working their way back up field Hape completed a first-half brace when Deacon?s grubber bounced awkwardly over the head of full-back and left the Kiwi with a clear run to the line.
Though Bulls were without try-scoring sensation Lesley Vainikolo they showed their potency in the backs when centre Ben Harris benefited from another superbly placed Deacon kick to cross for the sixth Bradford try shortly after the break.
Though Catalan took advantage of a rare Bulls error for Mounis to score a second they were clearly in need of direction in the absence of Kiwi Test star Stacey Jones. But that was sadly lacking.
The Bulls reminded the French outfit exactly why they are champions with two tries in a three-minute spell when first Lynch completed a brace and then Marcus Bai crossed to put Bradford out of sight.
A 60-metre solo effort from Justin Murphy cheered the home fans before Bulls had the final word through youngster Andy Smith.
Catalans Dragons: Bosc, Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges, Rudder, Frayssinous, Chan, Rinaldi, Beattie, Fakir, Guisset, Hindmarsh.
Replacements: Mounis, Fellous, Touxagas, Guigue.
Bradford: Withers, Bai, B. Harris, Hape, Smith, I. Harris, Deacon, Fielden, Henderson, Lynch, McKenna, Meyers, Langley.
Replacements: Vagana, Gene, Ferres, Cook.
Catalans Dragons (6) 18.
Tries: Mounis 2, Murphy. Goals: Frayssinous 3.
Bradford (30) 50.
Tries: Hape 2, Fielden, Lynch 2, Langley, B. Harris, Bai, Smith. Goals: Deacon 7.
Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury)