Platt shows what Reds are missing

Platt shows what Reds are missing

Michael Platt touches down for a try

Michael Platt touches down for a try

Michael Platt touches down for a try

Michael Platt touches down for a try

Ian Henderson crosses the line to score

Ian Henderson crosses the line to score

Ian Henderson crosses the line to score

Ian Henderson crosses the line to score

First published in Sport by

Bulls 56, City Reds 18

Michael Platt warned former club Salford before this match he had "fire in his belly." He wasn't lying.

As a teenager, the "devastated" full back found out on the internet he was being ditched by his home-town team and hadn't forgotten four years on.

True to his word, he delivered a searing display today, helping himself to a hugely satisfying hat-trick of tries to prove in no uncertain terms that Salford boss Karl Harrison made a clanger letting him go.

Steve McNamara, meanwhile, knows he has got a snip, having paid Castleford just £10,000 for the dynamic flier.

The Bulls raced in ten tries in total as they completely destroyed the visitors, who have still yet to win at Grattan Stadium during the summer era.

Salford might have been able to deal with a fired-up Platt alone but today all 16 of his Bradford team-mates also had a point to prove as well.

It wasn't to the visitors but to themselves, having slipped up horribly at St Helens last week.

The Bulls fell 28-0 behind after a no-show in the opening quarter and were ruthlessly dismissed, so today they had some making-up to do.

Unfortunately for Salford, each and every one of them responded in just the right manner and the combined result was devastating.

The Bulls may have fallen behind in all their games previously but there was no worry of that today as McNamara's men swept into an 18-0 lead.

They dominated from the off with a performance packed with power, pace and precision, doing to Salford what Saints did to them nine days earlier.

Platt got the headlines with his treble but David Solomona was the architect early on and his performance in the opening quarter was a pleasure to watch.

The big second-rower shouldn't be able to do the things he does but he continually does with his awesome combination of brute force and delicate hands.

His subtle pass from inside the Bulls' own half sent Paul Deacon racing clear for the game's first try.

The scrum half found Shontayne Hape on his outside and although the Kiwi was hauled in, a quick play-of-the-ball saw Iestyn Harris find Platt in midfield and he sliced through for his opener.

Then Solomona used his strength to bundle over from close range when he had no right to whatsoever and the gifted Kiwi was soon unpicking the battered Salford defence again.

This time, he latched on to a Jamie Langley off-load on halfway and forced his way through.

Solomona looked to be clear but a tap-tackle slowed his progress. However, showing amazing dexterity for a big man and as he struggled to keep his balance, he managed to shape a brilliant one-handed pass to the supporting Hape for a score of true class.

He came up with some massive defensive hits as well to smash Salford further back and the likes of Joe Vagana, Jamie Langley and Andy Lynch all powered forward as the home pack really set out their stall. There was no standing off this week.

The visitors struggled on and didn't gain any attacking position until near the end of the first quarter, when Glenn Morrison was forced into pulling off a desperate cover tackle on jinking livewire Luke Robinson.

Andy Coley eventually barged over to give them a sniff but they were soon smelling the Bulls' afterburners again when Marcus St Hilaire finished off a fourth touchdown.

Ian Henderson - starting at hooker due to Terry Newton's suspension - livened things up with a couple of darts around the ruck and, when Salford were penalised for not being square, the Bulls struck.

Solomona took a quick tap from in front of the posts, Iestyn Harris found Morrison and the Aussie's excellent long pass was gobbled up by St Hilaire.

Ben Harris enjoyed a couple of busting breaks down the right but on the first occasion he looked to the left when Morrison and St Hilaire were on his right shoulder and the second time Morrison was bundled into touch.

However, it seemed the Bulls would add to their list when Shontayne Hape rose highest to collect a Iestyn Harris crossfield kick just before the hooter.

The line was gaping but Hape spilled the ball and Williams picked up to sprint clear to the other end, Luke Dorn supporting for their second try.

With John Wilshere converting, Salford might have fancied their chances of a comeback, trailing by just ten points at the break.

But any hopes of that were dismissed when the hosts got the first score of the second half, Hape gliding over off a long cut-out pass from Iestyn Harris.

On the back of their forwards' continued dominance, Harris, Deacon and Henderson all excelled, revelling in the space and time afforded them to attack the line.

Harris was badly off-cue with some of his passing at Knowsley Road but today the 30-year-old showed he can still be one of the game's most influential players.

He may not have the pace of old but some of his passing to pick out runners was excellent. Chris McKenna benefited from two tries off such service and earlier Harris had also made a half-break to help set up Platt's second.

Platt raced onto another Harris pass to get his hat-trick, showing surprising strength for such a slight player to stretch out of a clutch of tackles.

Henderson had already finished off an electrifying surge from Burgess, who gave a glimpse of why he has been rated as one of the best young talents in the game.

With a storming burst down the middle, the 18-year-old showed immense strength to hold off would-be tacklers. He then demonstrated great skill and awareness with a fine off-load to find Lynch, who did well to hand on to Henderson and he finished for a well-deserved four-pointer.

Salford scored the last try of the afternoon with their only real foray into the Bulls half, when Williams benefited from a dubious penalty try, but it was no consolation following a brutal destruction.

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