BRADFORD Bulls Under-19s hammered home their superiority, returning to winning ways, moving to within four points of the play-offs, after brushing aside Castleford 36-18.

The Academy Bulls had too much firepower up front and were too clinical in their finishing for the Tigers.

The home side certainly did not disgrace themselves, and the final scoreline was a fair reflection of their efforts, but there was no doubt that gulf existed between the teams.

Bradford have improved hugely under the coaching staff of Leigh Beattie and Mark Dunning over the course of the season, developing one of the most physically impressive and intelligent forward packs at Academy level.

Oliver Wilson, Tom Doyle, Keelan Foster, Matthew Storton, Evan Hodgson and Matt Fletcher all started and showed why with their tremendous leadership, excellent decision-making, monstrous dedication and hard work.

It was an evening when no-one could do anything wrong as the collective spirit of the side delivered an unrivalled experience in one of the strongest performances of the season.

Leigh Beattie was clearly impressed with everyone in his squad, but gave special praise to Matthew Storton, who won the Bradford Bulls Facebook Live player of the match vote, saying: "You can see the way he trains and plays that he is an incredibly skilful player.

"He really likes to run with the ball at the opposition line and that is exciting because in Matthew, you have someone who wants to keep the ball in hand and stress teams and their defences with his fearless running game."

Alix Stephenson was outstanding, converting six from as many attempts to end the evening with another 100 per cent record.

Rowan Milnes pulled the strings in the halves, thriving on lovely service from scrum half Cobi Green, whose passing and directness with the boot were high class.

Tom Doyle who continues to morph into the great Bradford Bulls player James Lowes with every passing game was always tremendously physical in defence and attack. He really has had some season and was brilliant again.

Bradford led 18-10 at half-time, having scored three tries through Tom Doyle, Oliver Wilson and Ebon Scurr, all from crash and ball efforts close to the line as the forwards really did take control with industrious and equally steaming drives.

All three tries came from a similar pattern of the Bulls capitalising on possession and territory deep inside their opponents half - with Bradford's power in the forwards just too much for Castleford to stop.

Alix Stephenson and Ebon Scurr could have further extended Bradford's lead in the first half after both going over from passes from Cobi Green but the referee, David Sharpe, ruled that both Bulls players had not grounded the ball.

Castleford's first half tries coming from their potent right edge partnership of Robbie Storey and Lewis Carr.

Bradford came flying out of the traps and were thwarted early on only by some defiant defending from the Tigers, who looked to cling onto their 18-10 deficit.

But it wasn't long before the pace and acceleration of Ryan Butterworth and Alix Stephenson sent Bradford deep inside the Castleford half.

Scintillating breaks that saw Rowan Milnes and Lochlan McGill add tries to the ever increasing Bulls lead, and with Stephenson in fine form with the boot. The Bulls were out to a 30-10 lead with still 30 minutes remaining.

Castleford were hanging on by their fingertips, and Oliver Wilson, who had just been come back on the field after a solid first half, was denied by the referee after being held up over the line.

As the game reached the hour mark, Bradford were on the defensive and had their resources stretched out wide as Carr got his second try for Castleford in the corner.

However, the Bulls weathered the storm of Tigers resistance to stretch their lead to 36-14 with another breakout try from deep in their own half.

It a superb team try that was finished off by Matthew Storton, who scythed through the tiring defence for Bradford's sixth and final try of the evening. Alix Stephenson converting to complete his perfect evening with the boot.

Lewis Carr would cross in the final five minutes for Castleford, earning a deserved hat-trick, but it was nothing more than a consolation try and by this time it was all too late to stop Bradford picking up win number seven of the season.

Leigh Beattie said: "We knew that we let ourselves down in the previous two games against Warrington and Widnes. All the things we did defensively and offensively out there tonight were what we spoke about.

"We have still got some chinks to get out of our system but it was a victory for our attention and discipline because we did what we practised and I'm absolutely delighted with the performance. It was a convincing win and the dressing room is happy."