Karl Harrison's old club showed just how much there is to do at his new one with a display that underlined the difference between the top and bottom of Super League. Harrison's first home match as Salford's coach saw them overpowered by the Bulls, who had the luxury of being able to freewheel through much of the second half. "Welcome to the real world,'' Harrison said. "Bradford were outstanding. They showed us how Rugby League should be played.''
That was after Salford had taken a shock lead through Francis Maloney; after that, it was exhibition class stuff from the Bulls. With Paul Deacon eager to take on a hesitant defence and Stuart Fielden revelling in a wider role, they ripped Salford apart at will. Tries came at regular intervals from Lee Gilmour (twice) and from Tevita Vaikona, Daniel Gartner and Scott Naylor.
With Deacon landing all his goals – as he continued to do for the whole match – Salford were already out of it, but there was at least a trace of the sort of determination they will need in their battle against relegation when Malcolm Alker chased back to deny Nathan McAvoy a try at the end of a length-of-the-field move that was the best of the afternoon. "Some players had a really good dig for the cause,'' Harrison said. "Some of the others I'm not so sure about.''
When Leon Pryce scored with his first touch after coming on as a half-time substitute, Bradford's recent tradition of piling up the points against Salford was well on its way to being maintained. They became a little less ruthless in the second half, however, giving Salford the chance to limit the damage.
The home side even got one back through Nick Pinkney, which only provoked the Bulls into engaging top gear once more for Brandon Costin and Vaikona to add further converted tries.
In the last minute, the Salford substitute, Ian Watson, was sent off for a late challenge on Deacon, but this was a match in which they would have needed extra bodies to disguise the gap in class.
Salford: Gibson; Pinkney, Maloney, Littler, Arnold; Holroyd, Goulding; Southern, Alker, Coley, Ebrill, Treacy, Wainwright. Substitutes used: Watson, Highton, Baynes, Nichol.
Bradford: Withers; Vaikona, Naylor, Costin, McAvoy; Paul, Deacon; Vagana, Forshaw, McDermott, Garstner, Fielden, Gilmour. Substitutes used: Pryce, Moore, Radford, Parker.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).
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