Bradford Telegraph and ArgusRelegation looks odds on after awful Bradford Bulls display (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

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Relegation looks odds on after awful Bradford Bulls display

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jamie Foster dives over to score the Bulls’ only points against Catalan Jamie Foster dives over to score the Bulls’ only points against Catalan

Catalan Dragons 46, Bradford Bulls 4

Of all the thumping defeats that Bradford have suffered this season, and there have been a few, none felt quite as depressing as this.

Catalan outclassed Francis Cummins’ men comprehensively, running in eight tries to give the Bulls coach plenty to think about.

Owner Marc Green, perched high in the main stand alongside managing director Steve Ferres, also had food for thought.

The Super League club he bought out of administration in March could be a Championship outfit by the end of the season.

That bleak, unthinkable prospect looks increasingly likely at this rate.

The relegation trapdoor is coming into sharp focus and it is hard to see the Bulls escaping without winning back the six points they had docked for entering administration.

That penalty saw a trio of former directors walk away from the club in February, with Mark Moore claiming the punishment made relegation “almost a certainty”.

Moore, Andrew Calvert and Ian Watt attended Saturday’s match in Perpignan and sat next to Green.

It was that kind of day when nothing seemed to make much sense.

Why did Cummins’ players perform so badly in a game that mattered so much?

How could they not rouse themselves when the club’s and, indeed, their own futures are on the line?

This was a huge match for the Bulls against a Catalan side they had beaten in such spirited fashion only last month.

Yet the start they made was, quite frankly, appalling.

Morgan Escare opened the scoring with a stunning second-minute effort, Elliott Whitehead touched down ten minutes later and Michael Oldfield quickly broke the Bradford line all too easily for another long-range score.

It was shocking stuff from the Bulls and the game was effectively over with less than 15 minutes played.

Bar a few notable exceptions, such as Antonio Kaufusi and Manase Manuokafoa, there was little fight from the Bulls and certainly no cohesion.

They were outpaced, outfought and ultimately outclassed by a Catalan side who were superior in every department.

This was as bad as it gets, with Cummins describing the debacle as “embarrassing” afterwards.

The Bradford boss had been let down badly by his players and he was brutally honest in his assessment of their performance.

The manner in which Escare and Oldfield broke clear to score will give Cummins and every Bradford supporter nightmares.

The Bulls were supposed to be far more competitive following the return of Manuokafoa and Kaufusi, along with James Donaldson.

Manuokafoa and Donaldson were back after injury-enforced absences, while Kaufusi returned after being ineligible for the Magic Weekend defeat to Huddersfield.

Kaufusi is an aggressive, old-school prop and is not afraid to mix it but the Bulls’ backline was badly exposed – and none more so than in the second minute, when Escare collected a pass from Zeb Taia around his own 20-metre line.

The diminutive French full back showed blistering speed to gallop past Joe Arundel and leave a clutch of Bradford defenders for dead inside the left channel before racing past Lee Gaskell to score a brilliant individual try.

With the Dragons’ pack generally dominant, Leon Pryce began to see plenty of the ball and he orchestrated several attacks as well as testing Gaskell with some high, probing and wind-assisted kicks.

In the 11th minute, Whitehead gave his old club an unwelcome reminder of his ability to sniff out a try.

A kick was not dealt with by Jamie Foster and Whitehead collected possession before showing impressive strength to hold off Danny Addy and Foster to power over the line.

Whitehead celebrated with gusto after notching his 12th Super League try of the season in only his 11th appearance.

It soon got worse for the Bulls as they conceded again moments later when Oldfield collected possession inside his own half and broke past Addy and Adrian Purtell before scampering clear inside the right channel.

At 18-0 down after just 14 minutes, the Bulls needed to conjure the kind of response which saw them overturn the Dragons’ early 16-0 lead in the Challenge Cup at Odsal last month.

Sadly, they never looked like capable of doing it again on Saturday and so it proved.

Indeed, it was Catalan who continued to look most likely to score and, midway through the first half, Pryce marched past Arundel before finding the impressive Taia in support.

Elliot Kear did well to deny the back-rower but the Bulls barely managed to escape their own half in the opening quarter of the match.

Jordan Baldwinson came on to replace Adam Sidlow and make his debut on the half hour and, as the interval approached, the Bulls began to enjoy their best spell of the game and forced Catalan into three goal-line drop-outs.

But Catalan also went close to a fourth try moments before the break when the elusive Escare threatened to burst over in the right corner after more clever footwork but Kear did well to keep him at bay.

Dragons centre Vincent Duport was then denied a try by the video referee after barrelling through a pack of Bradford players before being penalised for obstruction on Arundel.

Still, an 18-0 interval deficit was bad enough.

The hope was that the Bulls would come out firing in the second half and maybe, just maybe, launch a famous fightback.

Some hope.

Within two minutes of the restart, Escare was again quickest off the mark when he took Ben Pomeroy’s neat short offload to finish off a fine handling sequence which ripped Bradford apart.

Thomas Bosc’s fourth goal made it 24-0 and put paid to any serious hopes that Cummins’ men had of overturning Catalans’ lead.

Dragons replacement Jean-Philippe Baile was then held up over the line but the hosts soon had their fifth try when Mickael Simon went over from close range after more good work by Pryce and Bosc.

With 53 minutes played, the Bulls fashioned a well-worked try which saw Addy, Purtell and Gaskell combine to send Foster diving over in the left corner.

That prompted Bulls chairman Green to punch the air.

But his joy was short-lived as Foster could not convert and the pendulum soon swung back in Catalan’s favour.

Daryl Millard soon scored a sixth home try when he collected a kick to finish clinically in the left corner.

The Dragons were soon camped on the Bulls’ line again and Pryce, who at times looked as if he was playing a training-ground game, went over from close range after taking a short pass from Whitehead.

Whitehead was involved again in his side’s eighth and final try when, after the second-rower’s progress was halted inside the right channel, another kick from Bosc found its way to Taia and he touched down unopposed.

When the final whistle went, it came as a blessed relief for Cummins and his players, who must now claim the two points on offer against Wakefield next Sunday.

Nothing less will do.

Attendance: 6,890

Comments (13)

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6:54am Mon 26 May 14

The Fat Lady Sings says...

I am afraid you cannot find any odds. The book has been closed. Bookmakers do not like losing money especially when they appear to be "racing certainties".
I do hope Mr Cummins has cancelled the players Spring Bank Holiday and extra training is the order of the day.
Well, Catalan was a must win game. Now it is Wakefield. Then Salford? Finally London. I am assuming we have waved the white flag at any of the others?
I noted that when saints turned belly-up against Warrington, Paul Wellens lambasted his side. From Odsal? Silence!
I am afraid you cannot find any odds. The book has been closed. Bookmakers do not like losing money especially when they appear to be "racing certainties". I do hope Mr Cummins has cancelled the players Spring Bank Holiday and extra training is the order of the day. Well, Catalan was a must win game. Now it is Wakefield. Then Salford? Finally London. I am assuming we have waved the white flag at any of the others? I noted that when saints turned belly-up against Warrington, Paul Wellens lambasted his side. From Odsal? Silence! The Fat Lady Sings
  • Score: 11

7:37am Mon 26 May 14

caledonia15 says...

Been too many "must win" games lost already this season, with the lack of interest that seems to prevail up at Odsal at the moment cant see any sign of hope anymore. Always knew it was going to be hard to finish 12 th this year due to the ongoing fiasco with ownership,points deduction, the incompetence that is the RFL etc, but the lack of passion, motivation and guts in this team appalls me.
I have never seen a Bradford Northern / Bulls team show so little appetite for the fight, we the folk who have backed this shambles, digging deep into our pockets over the last few years deserve some pride and guts from these players, Wakefield at home on Sunday is now probably one of the most important games in our History, i think that staying up is now beyond us, but for gods sake lets go down fighting and show some pride in this once great club
Been too many "must win" games lost already this season, with the lack of interest that seems to prevail up at Odsal at the moment cant see any sign of hope anymore. Always knew it was going to be hard to finish 12 th this year due to the ongoing fiasco with ownership,points deduction, the incompetence that is the RFL etc, but the lack of passion, motivation and guts in this team appalls me. I have never seen a Bradford Northern / Bulls team show so little appetite for the fight, we the folk who have backed this shambles, digging deep into our pockets over the last few years deserve some pride and guts from these players, Wakefield at home on Sunday is now probably one of the most important games in our History, i think that staying up is now beyond us, but for gods sake lets go down fighting and show some pride in this once great club caledonia15
  • Score: 23

9:20am Mon 26 May 14

Out of site says...

No news here then.
No news here then. Out of site
  • Score: 2

9:21am Mon 26 May 14

Out of site says...

Did they get 4 points when it was half time?
Did they get 4 points when it was half time? Out of site
  • Score: 4

9:27am Mon 26 May 14

Shipley Paul says...

The displays we have endured his year are completely unacceptable for a full time professional team. Responsibility for performance lies with Franny and for too long we have under performed. Marc Green must act immediately to try and stop the rot. If this was football, heads would have rolled weeks ago. Sentiment for Franny's sacrifices during the crisis can count for nothing. Wigan have half a team injured yet still win big games. We probably will go down but we need improvement now and in professional sport sometimes a change at the top is the only way.
The displays we have endured his year are completely unacceptable for a full time professional team. Responsibility for performance lies with Franny and for too long we have under performed. Marc Green must act immediately to try and stop the rot. If this was football, heads would have rolled weeks ago. Sentiment for Franny's sacrifices during the crisis can count for nothing. Wigan have half a team injured yet still win big games. We probably will go down but we need improvement now and in professional sport sometimes a change at the top is the only way. Shipley Paul
  • Score: 5

11:08am Mon 26 May 14

franklyn says...

have some people REALLY only just realised we are going to be in championship next year?
can't understand why mr green is bothering to wast money on the points appeal.
most of this squad will be looking for S/L teams for next season, but who on earth is going to sign them ?
a complete new start is needed for next season, and they wont find it easy to get out of the championship.
have some people REALLY only just realised we are going to be in championship next year? can't understand why mr green is bothering to wast money on the points appeal. most of this squad will be looking for S/L teams for next season, but who on earth is going to sign them ? a complete new start is needed for next season, and they wont find it easy to get out of the championship. franklyn
  • Score: 2

11:09am Mon 26 May 14

-HCK3R- says...

Most of these players should be charged with taking money under false pretences......
Most of these players should be charged with taking money under false pretences...... -HCK3R-
  • Score: 7

11:31am Mon 26 May 14

axelf1963 says...

Wonder what my new mate Viking makes of all this ?
Wonder what my new mate Viking makes of all this ? axelf1963
  • Score: 1

12:50pm Mon 26 May 14

fedupwiththeBS says...

Got to ask why was Moore, Andrew Calvert and Ian Watt attending the game as guests of Green? They were at the Sponsors Dinner the other night as well; they should be hanging their heads in shame as they are as much to blame as OK and GS for the state of our Club; not lording it in the sunshine.
Got to ask why was Moore, Andrew Calvert and Ian Watt attending the game as guests of Green? They were at the Sponsors Dinner the other night as well; they should be hanging their heads in shame as they are as much to blame as OK and GS for the state of our Club; not lording it in the sunshine. fedupwiththeBS
  • Score: 3

1:18pm Mon 26 May 14

spanglishbull.uk says...

Odds on,get real,100% certain to be relegated.This is the worst Northern/Bulls team since reforming .O.K. Mr Cummins has had to put up with things behind the scene that no coach or players should have to put up with but that scenario should now be water under the bridge.I am afraid that the situation has now got out of hand and relegation is a nailed on certainty and I am not being a defeatist,just realistic.I do realise that Mr Green is running a business and do not expect him to tell the supporters everything that is happening behind the scenes but surely he should reassure them the situation will change before he loses the loyal support that is there at the moment.He ought to realise if they go so will the club.The buck now stops with him,crucial decisions will have to be made,sympathy put to one side,for the sake of the Bulls.
Odds on,get real,100% certain to be relegated.This is the worst Northern/Bulls team since reforming .O.K. Mr Cummins has had to put up with things behind the scene that no coach or players should have to put up with but that scenario should now be water under the bridge.I am afraid that the situation has now got out of hand and relegation is a nailed on certainty and I am not being a defeatist,just realistic.I do realise that Mr Green is running a business and do not expect him to tell the supporters everything that is happening behind the scenes but surely he should reassure them the situation will change before he loses the loyal support that is there at the moment.He ought to realise if they go so will the club.The buck now stops with him,crucial decisions will have to be made,sympathy put to one side,for the sake of the Bulls. spanglishbull.uk
  • Score: 5

5:26pm Mon 26 May 14

fedupwiththeBS says...

Once a Rhino supporter always a Rhinos Support - looking very true Mr. Green!

Be honest with the fans; if you are not planning on doing anything and are resigned to taking us down then just tell us? We are all (well most) adult enough to deal with it but we have been through enough over the last few years to deserve the truth.

If you do have a plan then let us know; we do not want details just a hint that you cared would be a start!
Once a Rhino supporter always a Rhinos Support - looking very true Mr. Green! Be honest with the fans; if you are not planning on doing anything and are resigned to taking us down then just tell us? We are all (well most) adult enough to deal with it but we have been through enough over the last few years to deserve the truth. If you do have a plan then let us know; we do not want details just a hint that you cared would be a start! fedupwiththeBS
  • Score: 6

9:30pm Mon 26 May 14

bradfordbronco says...

Shipley Paul wrote:
The displays we have endured his year are completely unacceptable for a full time professional team. Responsibility for performance lies with Franny and for too long we have under performed. Marc Green must act immediately to try and stop the rot. If this was football, heads would have rolled weeks ago. Sentiment for Franny's sacrifices during the crisis can count for nothing. Wigan have half a team injured yet still win big games. We probably will go down but we need improvement now and in professional sport sometimes a change at the top is the only way.
totally agree. would be interested to know what would happen if we swapped squads with Wigan. I think they're youngsters would get hammered every week under the NON coaching set up at the Bulls whilst our lads would suddenly look decent when the Wigan coaches show them how to tackle, pass, run attacking lines, kick at the right time etc etc.

Think that says it all!!
[quote][p][bold]Shipley Paul[/bold] wrote: The displays we have endured his year are completely unacceptable for a full time professional team. Responsibility for performance lies with Franny and for too long we have under performed. Marc Green must act immediately to try and stop the rot. If this was football, heads would have rolled weeks ago. Sentiment for Franny's sacrifices during the crisis can count for nothing. Wigan have half a team injured yet still win big games. We probably will go down but we need improvement now and in professional sport sometimes a change at the top is the only way.[/p][/quote]totally agree. would be interested to know what would happen if we swapped squads with Wigan. I think they're youngsters would get hammered every week under the NON coaching set up at the Bulls whilst our lads would suddenly look decent when the Wigan coaches show them how to tackle, pass, run attacking lines, kick at the right time etc etc. Think that says it all!! bradfordbronco
  • Score: 1

5:56pm Tue 27 May 14

bartsbull says...

It is time some players were giving a good rollocking elliot Smith nobby would have torn strips of them now

You can see om of the young playerstrying there best it is he senior players that are not standing up and being counted they should be fighting for this club

At the end of the eason there will be over sixty players looking for club with the two teams going down and te twelve clubs left will not have the spaces to sign those players plus the young academy lads
Lets show some backbone and if we go down at least least go down fighting not just give in FC needs to read the riot act Potter had this team firing COYB
It is time some players were giving a good rollocking elliot Smith nobby would have torn strips of them now You can see om of the young playerstrying there best it is he senior players that are not standing up and being counted they should be fighting for this club At the end of the eason there will be over sixty players looking for club with the two teams going down and te twelve clubs left will not have the spaces to sign those players plus the young academy lads Lets show some backbone and if we go down at least least go down fighting not just give in FC needs to read the riot act Potter had this team firing COYB bartsbull
  • Score: 1

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