Things can only get better for Bradford Bulls

Elliott Kear dives in to score the first of two Bulls tries against Castleford

Nick Scruton adds the Bulls’ second try before Castleford powered clear

Bulls v Castleford match action

Bulls v Castleford match action

Bulls v Castleford match action

Bulls v Castleford match action

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Bulls Reporter

Bradford Bulls 10, Castleford Tigers 66

As Francis Cummins and Daryl Powell fulfilled their media duties after yesterday’s match, there was a quick exchange between the rival coaches.

“Well played Daryl, you were very good today,” said Cummins with a handshake.

“See you again in two weeks’ time,” replied Powell to his former Leeds colleague.

That was perhaps the only positive to take out of yesterday’s match; the fact that Castleford are back at Odsal on February 16 for the Super League opener.

The Bulls are sure to be much improved from yesterday’s final pre-season friendly. They have to be. It cannot be this easy for Powell’s men again.

The Bulls had their line breached 12 times as Castleford ran amok, scoring 56 unanswered points.

The Bulls’ left edge was exposed badly during the opening 40 minutes, with the first four of Castleford’s five first-half tries coming down that side.

Cummins was missing Lee Gaskell due to illness, while Jarrod Sammut, Luke George and Alex Mellor were absent through injury along with longer-term absentees Matty Blythe and Brett Kearney.

Garreth Carvell was rested but Chev Walker and Matt Diskin were fit to make their first appearances of pre-season and Dale Ferguson made his debut as a starting second-rower.

In cold, crisp conditions, the Bulls made an inauspicious start when Jamie Foster, lining up at full back, kicked out on the full.

Referee Richard Silverwood subsequently awarded Castleford a penalty which led to Luke Dorn opening the scoring in the second minute.

The Australian full back took a short pass from Liam Finn to break the Bulls’ line from close range and touch down for a try which Kirk Dixon converted.

The Bulls gained some respite when Grant Millington caught Adam O’Brien late and a penalty gave them the opportunity to build some decent field position.

Castleford were penalised again for holding moments later, which led to O’Brien, Luke Gale, Danny Addy and Foster combining superbly to send Elliot Kear over in the right corner.

Foster could not convert and Castleford continued to probe before breaching the Bulls’ line for a second try in the 14th minute which saw Michael Shenton usher Dixon over in the right corner.

Dixon evaded the attention of Adrian Purtell to finish well but could not convert from a difficult angle.

The visitors’ offloading game continued to cause the Bulls problems and they had a third try chalked off by Silverwood midway through the first half, with Shenton’s pass to Dixon clearly forward.

The Bulls steadied themselves once more and, after three penalties in quick succession, they made their pressure pay as Gale’s neat inside pass sent Nick Scruton marching over from close range.

Foster’s conversion tied the scores at 10-10 but Castleford were back in front three minutes later when Daryl Clark took Finn’s short pass and burst past a clutch of Bradford defenders to score.

Dixon converted and two minutes before half-time the Tigers struck again when James Clare’s exquisite long pass found Richard Owen in the left corner.

That gave Castleford a 26-10 interval lead – and five minutes after the break they scored again as Shenton went over in the right corner, before Weller Hauraki touched down three minutes later after Foster dropped the ball over his own line.

It got worse in the 54th minute when more missed tackles led to Finn’s kick being grounded by Adam Milner.

Ferguson then missed a tackle to allow Hauraki to score again, before Dixon twice finished clinically in the right corner and Frankie Mariano rounded off the scoring.

Dixon’s hat-trick of tries and nine conversions gave him a personal haul of 30 points.

Bulls: Foster, Kear, Henry, Purtell, Saltonstall, Addy, Gale, Scruton, O’Brien, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Ferguson, Donaldson. Interchange: Diskin, Roberts, Sidlow, Bates, Walker, Conroy.

Castleford: Dorn, Owen, Carney, Shenton, Dixon, Sneyd, Finn, Lynch, Clark, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington. Interchange: Wheeldon, Mariano, Milner, Gibson, Channing, Clare, Seymour.

Referee: Richard Silverwood.

Attendance: 1,987

Comments (6)

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6:55am Mon 3 Feb 14

Sheffieldbull says...

Let’s look at the positives of yesterday’s game. The Sun shone and it didn’t rain. No reported loss of appendages due to frostbite. The Beer was good. Jamie Foster got plenty of ‘Kick off’ practice which was needed after his first and we got an opportunity to see our team in their normal positions – behind the posts waiting for the conversions to be taken!
It’s not always easy being a Bulls supporter at times! Roll on the 16th – COYBs!
Let’s look at the positives of yesterday’s game. The Sun shone and it didn’t rain. No reported loss of appendages due to frostbite. The Beer was good. Jamie Foster got plenty of ‘Kick off’ practice which was needed after his first and we got an opportunity to see our team in their normal positions – behind the posts waiting for the conversions to be taken! It’s not always easy being a Bulls supporter at times! Roll on the 16th – COYBs! Sheffieldbull
  • Score: 12

7:53am Mon 3 Feb 14

fedupwiththeBS says...

Is FC the right man for the Job or do we need a change?
I would love to see mad Morrow back at the Club or Jimmy Lowes someone that can bring the best out of the squad because FC seems not to be able to.

We can't go on like this with this being a relegation season, I know it is only preseason but even looking through the most rose tinted specs you can see we have major problems we have conceded 104 points and only scored 14 in the last two games; not good enough.
Is FC the right man for the Job or do we need a change? I would love to see mad Morrow back at the Club or Jimmy Lowes someone that can bring the best out of the squad because FC seems not to be able to. We can't go on like this with this being a relegation season, I know it is only preseason but even looking through the most rose tinted specs you can see we have major problems we have conceded 104 points and only scored 14 in the last two games; not good enough. fedupwiththeBS
  • Score: -7

9:08am Mon 3 Feb 14

Van Bellen's Baby says...

fedupwiththeBS wrote:
Is FC the right man for the Job or do we need a change?
I would love to see mad Morrow back at the Club or Jimmy Lowes someone that can bring the best out of the squad because FC seems not to be able to.

We can't go on like this with this being a relegation season, I know it is only preseason but even looking through the most rose tinted specs you can see we have major problems we have conceded 104 points and only scored 14 in the last two games; not good enough.
Well we can discount the Dewsbury game because it was all kids. So the stats that matter are a good win against Hull and a bad defeat to Cas. This is hardly a basis for calling for the manager's head at this stage. FC has done wonders to keep this side together in the circumstances so he deserves this season and next (when the Sky dosh comes back) to prove himself.
[quote][p][bold]fedupwiththeBS[/bold] wrote: Is FC the right man for the Job or do we need a change? I would love to see mad Morrow back at the Club or Jimmy Lowes someone that can bring the best out of the squad because FC seems not to be able to. We can't go on like this with this being a relegation season, I know it is only preseason but even looking through the most rose tinted specs you can see we have major problems we have conceded 104 points and only scored 14 in the last two games; not good enough.[/p][/quote]Well we can discount the Dewsbury game because it was all kids. So the stats that matter are a good win against Hull and a bad defeat to Cas. This is hardly a basis for calling for the manager's head at this stage. FC has done wonders to keep this side together in the circumstances so he deserves this season and next (when the Sky dosh comes back) to prove himself. Van Bellen's Baby
  • Score: 10

9:36am Mon 3 Feb 14

Bacon Bantam says...

Friendlies aren't a good measure of anything. People don't want injuries mainly it's just susposed to be a way of getting to match fitness before the start of the season but there really is no substitute for proper games.

The Bulls that take the field in their first game even if it was the same side would give a totally different performance.

Some complaining about the price, well you have the choice, to go or not to go. You know your not going to get a performance of players putting their bodies on the line in a pre season friendly so if you think it's too much in price don't go. The club however needs the cash so treat it like Sheffield Bull did as more of a meet with friends and a few beers whilst chatting rugby.
Friendlies aren't a good measure of anything. People don't want injuries mainly it's just susposed to be a way of getting to match fitness before the start of the season but there really is no substitute for proper games. The Bulls that take the field in their first game even if it was the same side would give a totally different performance. Some complaining about the price, well you have the choice, to go or not to go. You know your not going to get a performance of players putting their bodies on the line in a pre season friendly so if you think it's too much in price don't go. The club however needs the cash so treat it like Sheffield Bull did as more of a meet with friends and a few beers whilst chatting rugby. Bacon Bantam
  • Score: 5

10:41am Mon 3 Feb 14

raisemeup says...

Sheffieldbull wrote:
Let’s look at the positives of yesterday’s game. The Sun shone and it didn’t rain. No reported loss of appendages due to frostbite. The Beer was good. Jamie Foster got plenty of ‘Kick off’ practice which was needed after his first and we got an opportunity to see our team in their normal positions – behind the posts waiting for the conversions to be taken!
It’s not always easy being a Bulls supporter at times! Roll on the 16th – COYBs!
Well analysed Sheff. can't comment on the beer, didn't have one?
The rest is about right.
Francis says a sickness bug went through the camp, which is true I know at least 3 and a possible 4th that's had it including yours truly. Which of course was made infinitely worse after the Cas. game.
Still if we managed to give it to the Cas players it may help us in two weeks time.
Bit of an extreme coaching ploy though???
[quote][p][bold]Sheffieldbull[/bold] wrote: Let’s look at the positives of yesterday’s game. The Sun shone and it didn’t rain. No reported loss of appendages due to frostbite. The Beer was good. Jamie Foster got plenty of ‘Kick off’ practice which was needed after his first and we got an opportunity to see our team in their normal positions – behind the posts waiting for the conversions to be taken! It’s not always easy being a Bulls supporter at times! Roll on the 16th – COYBs![/p][/quote]Well analysed Sheff. can't comment on the beer, didn't have one? The rest is about right. Francis says a sickness bug went through the camp, which is true I know at least 3 and a possible 4th that's had it including yours truly. Which of course was made infinitely worse after the Cas. game. Still if we managed to give it to the Cas players it may help us in two weeks time. Bit of an extreme coaching ploy though??? raisemeup
  • Score: 6

5:52pm Mon 3 Feb 14

bradfordbronco says...

Yes its only a friendly, but the manner of defeat is very worrying. We praised them after a fine game against Hull. They can't have it both ways. Hopefully thiscould be the wake up call they needed, better now than in 2 weeks time!!
Yes its only a friendly, but the manner of defeat is very worrying. We praised them after a fine game against Hull. They can't have it both ways. Hopefully thiscould be the wake up call they needed, better now than in 2 weeks time!! bradfordbronco
  • Score: 2

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