Bradford Bulls 41 Castleford Tigers 22: Castleford feel full force of Bulls' backlash

BRADFORD Bulls unleashed five days of pent-up frustration to drag themselves off the bottom of the Engage Super League with a blistering display.

After being booed from the field following Sunday's awful defeat against St Helens, Steve McNamara's side quickly returned to the scene of their 'crimes' last night and started re-paying their disgruntled supporters with some scintillating football which produced their first win of the season.

The Odsal coach said his underfire side would respond and they did, proving unrecognisable from the team that failed to turn up against Saints.

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Star signing Matt Orford directed play masterfully at scrum-half but it was the less-heralded Australian recruit Brett Kearney who impressed most alongside him.

The Cronulla stand-off played just a few minutes rugby all season last year in the NRL due to a serious foot injury but he showed no signs of that last night with his pace and handling skills desperately hurting a poor Castleford side.

Kearney contributed his first two tries for his new club and had a hand in most of their best work.

Orford, meanwhile, combined brilliantly with his former Manly team-mate Heath L'Estrange who offered Castleford constant problems from dummy half on the back of some sterling work from a powerful pack.

Veteran second row Steve Menzies rolled back the years with some classy touches while Jamie Langley, Nick Scruton and Andy Lynch surged up front to batter Castleford – badly missing their own playmaker Brent Sherwin – into submission from the off.

Tigers coach Terry Matterson had been impressed with his side's improved defence so far this season but it was found wanting immediately.

Bradford scored two tries in the opening seven minutes, catching Castleford cold.

Scruton charged straight through the middle of Ryan Hudson and Stuart Jones before twisting out of an equally tame tackle attempt from full-back Ryan McGoldrick.

Orford converted and then quickly turned provider in the following set.

Menzies gave Bulls the position with a fine off-load and, after the robust Langley had advanced, Orford aimed a kick to the corner where Menzies leapt highest and slipped a pass out to Sheriffe.

Rangi Chase's kick saw England centre Michael Shenton respond in the 19th minute, Joe Westerman kicking the first of his three conversions but it was only a minor blip as Bradford continued to attack with ferocity and no little skill.

L'Estrange's clever dummy-half play put 19 -year-old second row Elliott Whitehead crashing over before another graceful pass from Menzies set Sykes clear to put Kearney in for his first of the night.

When Glenn Hall fumbled the re-start it was Bradford's first real unforced error and 30 minutes had passed.

However, Castleford made them pay, Craig Huby's well-placed kick to the flank being expertly gathered by young winger Richard Owen, Westerman's conversion making it


However, Orford showed all his experience to nudge his side further ahead with a drop-goal just 12 seconds before the hooter.

In the second half, the Tigers saw Owen stretchered off with what early reports suggested was a broken leg after an awkward fall under Hall's challenge and they were never able to stop Bradford's advances.

Dave Halley finished off after Sykes cleverly kicked in behind the Castleford defence, Sheriffe just managing to toe the ball in field before it crossed the touchline to give the full-back an easy touch down.

Kearney darted in for his second after more slick interplay from L'Estrange and Orford and the Bulls fans were in wonderland.

Attacking from range and with real variety, they should have got in for more as the visitors crumbled.

However, opportunities went begging and Castleford responded near the end to get Steve Snitch over in the 70th minute and Hudson added another after the Bulls' defence dallied when attempting to deal with a simple kick.

That took some of the gloss off for the hosts but Sykes restored order slipping through off another fine pass from Kearney with two minutes remaining.

Bradford Bulls: Halley; Sheriffe, Sykes, Nero, Reardon; Kearney, Orford; Scruton, L'Estrange, Lynch, Whitehead, Menzies, Langley. Substitutes: Godwin, Hall, Worrincy, Kopczak.

Castleford Tigers: McGoldrick; Owen, Shenton, Evans, Wainwright; Snitch, Chase; Jackson, Hudson, Higgins, Ferres, Jones, Westerman. Substitutes: Sargent, Huby, Netherton, Clayton.

Referee: Thierry Alibert (Toulouse).

Results and table: Page 27.