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First Utility Super League: Salford Red Devils pile on misery for Bradford Bulls
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Salford crushed Bradford 46-18 at the AJ Bell Stadium to open the relegation trapdoor a little wider under the Bulls.
Rangi Chase pulled the strings as the Red Devils claimed their first win in eight league matches and their biggest of the season to ease the pressure on coach Iestyn Harris.
Chase scored two of his side's eight tries and, after taking on the goalkicking responsibility for the first time for his club, landed seven conversions to finish with 22 points in a man-of-the-match display.
Big-spending Salford now appear safe from relegation but Bradford look doomed following their failed appeal against their points deduction and Sunday's demoralising defeat by their fellow strugglers.
With Wakefield beating bottom club London Broncos on Friday night, the Bulls are now eight points adrift of the Wildcats with just 11 fixtures left to preserve their top-flight status.
If their salvation hopes rested on Sunday's game, they were distinguished within eight minutes as the home side stormed into an 18-0 lead.
Hooker Logan Tomkins, who made his debut in the Red Devils' 38-24 win at Odsal in April, got the scoreboard ticking over after only two minutes, forcing his way over from close range for his second try for the club.
Former England forward Gareth Hock then put full-back Niall Evalds into a gap and centre Junior Sau was in support to score the first of his two tries, before a first touch of Chase magic in which he regathered his own chip over the visitors' defence created a score for second rower Andrew Dixon.
Bradford could not get their hands on the ball in the early stages and they fell further behind on 14 minutes when Chase split them open with a dummy and sprinted 50 metres for a solo try and the former Castleford stand-off added his fourth conversion to make it 24-0.
The Bulls briefly halted the red tide when former Salford full-back Lee Gaskell combined with Adrian Purtell to get winger Elliot Kear over for a 22nd-minute try but his failure to take Chase's high kick moments later gifted a second try to the brilliant Kiwi.
Sau then had a try disallowed for a forward pass but was not denied on 36 minutes when he pounced on a handling error by former Salford prop Adam Sidlow to romp 40 metres for his second try.
Chase's fifth goal extended his side's lead to 34-6 before Bradford added a second try on the stroke of half-time through second rower Tom Olbison, with Luke Gale kicking a second conversion.
The Bulls were much improved in the second half and replacement hooker Gareth O'Brien went over from dummy half for a third try on 58 minutes but they never looked capable of unlocking Salford's grip on the contest.
Sau hurt himself trying to complete a hat-trick but quickly picked himself up to create further tries for his winger Francis Meli and Evalds, with the accurate Chase taking his goal tally to seven from eight attempts.
Touchjudge Robert Hicks took over as referee for the last 14 minutes after George Stokes was taken ill.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalan Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalan Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalan Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
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