Francis Cummins admits Bradford Bulls just weren’t good enough

Adam Henry scores in what proved a rare high point for the Bulls at home to Salford

Bulls v Salford match action

Bulls v Salford match action

Bulls v Salford match action

Bulls v Salford match action

Bulls v Salford match action

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

Bradford Bulls 24, Salford Red Devils 38

As the home faithful vented their frustration with referee Phil Bentham at the final whistle, Francis Cummins had some choice words of his own.

Significantly, they were not aimed at the officials but much closer to home.

“You may well say there were some 50-50 calls that didn’t go our way, there always is, but our concentration wasn’t good enough,” said the Bulls head coach.

“We are not keeping teams under pressure for long enough.

“We gave Salford too much cheap ball and too much momentum. We weren’t good enough.”

That, in a nutshell, summed up the Bulls last night.

The visit of a Salford side apparently in turmoil following the removal of Brian Noble was seen as a major opportunity to wipe out their points penalty and move onto zero.

In truth it never looked likely as Salford, with Rangi Chase at the heart of all their best moves, outclassed Bradford with something to spare.

The Red Devils, under the guidance of new boss Iestyn Harris, were simply too quick and vibrant at times, particularly during the opening 40 minutes when the Bulls never really managed to gain a foothold on the game.

Cummins estimated his side had only 14 sets during the first half and it told as Salford largely dominated field position.

Yes, some of Bentham’s calls were questionable, but Cummins was honest enough to admit that his men ultimately got what they deserved.

A quick glance at the teamsheet confirmed this was the strongest-looking Bulls side for quite some time; perhaps the strongest of Cummins’ reign.

The Bulls coach had five props at his disposal in Chev Walker, Manase Manuokafoa, Anthony Mullally, Adam Sidlow and Jamal Fakir.

He chose to start with Walker and Manuokafoa and named the other three on the bench, which meant Danny Addy missed out altogether.

That raised a few eyebrows but it also underlined the new-found depth in Cummins’ squad – Tom Olbison and Danny Bridge did not even make the 19-man squad.

The return of Sidlow, skipper Matt Diskin and stand-off Lee Gaskell after injury served as huge boosts to the Bulls. But much of the focus beforehand also fell on Harris following his appointment last week.

The former Bulls playmaker was appointed by Salford’s controversial owner Marwan Koukash after Noble – still Super League’s most successful coach after guiding Bradford to five successive Grand Finals – was unseated last Friday.

Noble has been offered the position as director of rugby and, having met Koukash for coffee at the Lowry hotel in Manchester yesterday morning, he is understood to be weighing up his future.

Gaskell illustrated his quality in the second minute with a probing kick inside the right channel.

Salford dealt with it, however, and opened the scoring three minutes later.

Chase, who had torn the Bulls apart with a scintillating display for Castleford at Wheldon Road last season, advanced forward inside the left channel.

He slipped a neat pass to the supporting Gareth Hock and the former Wigan man galloped past the Bradford defence all too easily before a neat offload sent full back Jake Mullaney scampering over the line.

Mullaney could not convert the score but Salford – and Chase in particular – continued to look menacing when they advanced forward. The Bulls needed to steady themselves and patiently wait for an opening.

The message from up high by Cummins to his players would have been simple: keep your discipline, control the ball, complete your sets.

In the 14th minute, the Bulls fashioned a decent spell of pressure on Salford’s line following a strong run inside the left channel by Adrian Purtell.

The Australian made decent headway before his progress was halted by some fine defending but the Bulls quickly recycled the ball and Gale’s crossfield kick to the right corner asked questions of the Salford defence.

Francis Meli did well to pluck the ball out of the air and moments later the former St Helens man almost crossed the line in the left corner.

Again Chase was the architect, impishly dancing around several Bradford players before finding Meli in the corner, only for Brett Kearney to make a timely intervention to prevent a try.

But in the 19th minute, the Bulls hit back when Gale’s kick fortuitously fell back into his arms and he showed intelligence to usher Purtell over from close range.

Jamie Foster converted to make it 6-4 – but Salford, who introduced debutant Logan Tomkins midway through the first half, were threatening with the pace of their attacks.

After Mullaney was held up in the 22nd minute, Bentham harshly penalised Elliot Kear for a supposed knock-on after neat interplay with Adam Henry.

The Bulls supporters were furious and their mood darkened further when Salford scored from the next set as Tommy Lee’s short pass sent Junior Sa’u over the line.

Mullaney converted and, on the half hour, Bradford fans vented their anger again when Gale collected Dale Ferguson’s offload and darted through a gap for a certain score before Bentham called back play for a forward pass by the Scotland international.

In fairness to Bentham, it looked the right call and Salford soon scored again when Chase found Smith with an expertly-weighted pass and he touched down for a try Mullaney converted.

It got worse for Bradford shortly before half-time when Chase’s kick was criminally left by the home defence, allowing replacement Matty Ashurst to athletically ground the ball with his first touch.

The Bulls fashioned the perfect response after the break when Sidlow collected a pass from Adam O’Brien to barrel over the line and Foster converted with ease.

Moments later, Gale found Gaskell and his kick was caught by Kear in the right corner, only for Sa’u to deny him a try with a superb saving tackle.

But the hope did not last long as some more poor defending allowed Tony Puletua to crash over the line from Tomkins’ pass.

Bradford replied late on when Kear cut in from the right flank for a fine individual effort but it was not enough as Chase went over and then provided an exquisite pass to send Meli over the line.

Henry had grabbed a consolation for the Bulls when he scored from close range but plenty of supporters had began making their way home at that point.

After the Bulls’ fifth successive Super League defeat, Cummins could now look to ring the changes for Thursday’s visit of Leeds.

Attendance: 6,144

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:16am Sat 12 Apr 14

Loadofbull70 says...

Sad to say its where we are at ! its gonna be a tough old season I cant really see us avoiding the drop. We have some talent in our squad but we just play like a bunch of strangers. We are out of admin the wages are being paid so the do us a favour & stay lads routine is over its time to knuckle down.

Thought Gale & Foster were very poor our attack is flat & unimaginative on a plus note the Kear try was shear class & made the night for me. If we cut out the silly error`s we would be in contention but silly plays & poor judgment cost us again.

Franny needs to get a grip of the players some need a kick up the backside. Leeds up next I would sell my arse to get a win at home against Leeds.

Come on lads train hard & play to win you have had troubled times but its all over now repay us loyal supporters by beating Leeds.
Sad to say its where we are at ! its gonna be a tough old season I cant really see us avoiding the drop. We have some talent in our squad but we just play like a bunch of strangers. We are out of admin the wages are being paid so the do us a favour & stay lads routine is over its time to knuckle down. Thought Gale & Foster were very poor our attack is flat & unimaginative on a plus note the Kear try was shear class & made the night for me. If we cut out the silly error`s we would be in contention but silly plays & poor judgment cost us again. Franny needs to get a grip of the players some need a kick up the backside. Leeds up next I would sell my arse to get a win at home against Leeds. Come on lads train hard & play to win you have had troubled times but its all over now repay us loyal supporters by beating Leeds. Loadofbull70
  • Score: 11

10:00am Sat 12 Apr 14

Bowlingboy says...

Green needs to put his money where his mouth is....
I'm sad to say it was a poor showing last night not really worth the £20 entrance no wonder the gate was low.
Sack Cummin's and by players that's the only way we will avoid the drop.

I applaud Francis Cummins loyalty and efforts but he was appointed out of necessity and what is best for the club should be done.

There are one or two players that don't cut it too,

I hear Mathew Elliot is on the market???
Green needs to put his money where his mouth is.... I'm sad to say it was a poor showing last night not really worth the £20 entrance no wonder the gate was low. Sack Cummin's and by players that's the only way we will avoid the drop. I applaud Francis Cummins loyalty and efforts but he was appointed out of necessity and what is best for the club should be done. There are one or two players that don't cut it too, I hear Mathew Elliot is on the market??? Bowlingboy
  • Score: 4

10:43am Sat 12 Apr 14

Videoref says...

We were out thought, out classed, out muscled, out played and out commited throughout the game. Looked totally mesmorised by Rangi Chase, and just let him run the show. Commitment showed when the ball was just left with 4 players able to knock it dead at least for Ashhurst to pinch it and score-disgraceful. Think it was a big mistake to have Walker at starting prop and leave Addy out-of our 5 props NONE of them controlled and Fakir didn't get enough time to make any impression in attack
We were out thought, out classed, out muscled, out played and out commited throughout the game. Looked totally mesmorised by Rangi Chase, and just let him run the show. Commitment showed when the ball was just left with 4 players able to knock it dead at least for Ashhurst to pinch it and score-disgraceful. Think it was a big mistake to have Walker at starting prop and leave Addy out-of our 5 props NONE of them controlled and Fakir didn't get enough time to make any impression in attack Videoref
  • Score: 2

11:13am Sat 12 Apr 14

cleckbull says...

Franny...Walker is not good enough....now we have 4 real props leave him out for gods sake
Franny...Walker is not good enough....now we have 4 real props leave him out for gods sake cleckbull
  • Score: 10

11:39am Sat 12 Apr 14

Paul from Idle says...

Hate to say it but I think we need a change of coach. There was no movement off the ball the players were very slow to get back and looked lethargic.
Cummins has never been tested but now the dust has settled I believe his lack of experience will show. In the past he has had sympathy due to the situation the club was in but now that has gone???
Hate to say it but I think we need a change of coach. There was no movement off the ball the players were very slow to get back and looked lethargic. Cummins has never been tested but now the dust has settled I believe his lack of experience will show. In the past he has had sympathy due to the situation the club was in but now that has gone??? Paul from Idle
  • Score: 5

2:59pm Sat 12 Apr 14

raisemeup says...

Loadofbull70 wrote:
Sad to say its where we are at ! its gonna be a tough old season I cant really see us avoiding the drop. We have some talent in our squad but we just play like a bunch of strangers. We are out of admin the wages are being paid so the do us a favour & stay lads routine is over its time to knuckle down.

Thought Gale & Foster were very poor our attack is flat & unimaginative on a plus note the Kear try was shear class & made the night for me. If we cut out the silly error`s we would be in contention but silly plays & poor judgment cost us again.

Franny needs to get a grip of the players some need a kick up the backside. Leeds up next I would sell my arse to get a win at home against Leeds.

Come on lads train hard & play to win you have had troubled times but its all over now repay us loyal supporters by beating Leeds.
Knowing our luck, someone would say it was torn???
Apart from that couldn't agree more>
[quote][p][bold]Loadofbull70[/bold] wrote: Sad to say its where we are at ! its gonna be a tough old season I cant really see us avoiding the drop. We have some talent in our squad but we just play like a bunch of strangers. We are out of admin the wages are being paid so the do us a favour & stay lads routine is over its time to knuckle down. Thought Gale & Foster were very poor our attack is flat & unimaginative on a plus note the Kear try was shear class & made the night for me. If we cut out the silly error`s we would be in contention but silly plays & poor judgment cost us again. Franny needs to get a grip of the players some need a kick up the backside. Leeds up next I would sell my arse to get a win at home against Leeds. Come on lads train hard & play to win you have had troubled times but its all over now repay us loyal supporters by beating Leeds.[/p][/quote]Knowing our luck, someone would say it was torn??? Apart from that couldn't agree more> raisemeup
  • Score: -1

5:00pm Sat 12 Apr 14

oswald777 says...

When we are losing to Salford, all hope of staying up has gone, 3 wins maximum this season which will put us on 4 points, not enough to stay up, I've said it before, Cummins is not the man to keep us up.
When we are losing to Salford, all hope of staying up has gone, 3 wins maximum this season which will put us on 4 points, not enough to stay up, I've said it before, Cummins is not the man to keep us up. oswald777
  • Score: 1

7:52am Sun 13 Apr 14

axelf1963 says...

Turning on the messiah, Not good times.
Turning on the messiah, Not good times. axelf1963
  • Score: 3

10:17am Sun 13 Apr 14

oswald777 says...

axelf1963 wrote:
Turning on the messiah, Not good times.
The messiah ??? Ha ha ha, Don't worship false idols.......
[quote][p][bold]axelf1963[/bold] wrote: Turning on the messiah, Not good times.[/p][/quote]The messiah ??? Ha ha ha, Don't worship false idols....... oswald777
  • Score: -2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree