Dewsbury Rams 6, Bradford Bulls 48
Elliott Whitehead’s four-try haul inspired an emphatic victory for the Bulls as Francis Cummins’ reign began in style today.
The homegrown second-rower, 23, produced three clinical finishes and joint-captain Heath L’Estrange also touched down to put the Bulls 24-0 up at the break.
Whitehead then turned provider with a brilliant run and reverse pass to send debutant Matty Blythe racing clear in the 44th minute before Matt Diskin, Manase Manuokafoa and Whitehead again applied further scores.
Jamie Foster converted all eight tries and enjoyed a solid debut at full back, while fellow new recruit Blythe made his presence felt at right centre.
Adam Sidlow, signed from Salford, was imposing in the front row after coming off the bench in the first half.
Nick Scruton, looking to recapture his best form after two injury-plagued years, similarly enjoyed a fine game up front.
It was a pleasing afternoon’s work from the Bulls for Cummins, who sat in the stands and communicated with Ian Sibbit, now a key member of his matchday backroom staff, via headsets.
Next weekend’s trip to Leeds for Danny McGuire’s testimonial promises to provide a far sterner test.
But there were plenty of reasons for optimism as rookies Jobe Murphy, Sam Wood and Curtis Naughton also came off the bench to make their senior bows.
Dewsbury, with whom the Bulls have a twinning agreement, were a distinct second-best to Cummins’ men but they were rewarded for a late spell of pressure when replacement Dario Esposito barged over the line.
But Whitehead soon reclaimed centre stage with another close-range effort and Foster's final conversion completed the rout.