BOSS John Kear refused to criticise his players for losing their cool as the Bulls' derby with the Cougars ended with FOUR men being sent off.

Bradford won the Joe Phillips Memorial Trophy 28-20 but the friendly at Odsal turned nasty as Keighley prop Samir Tahraoui's dismissal 15 minutes into the second half for fighting was followed by three more red cards late on.

Bulls pair Ethan Ryan and Elliot Minchella received their marching orders for their part in a mass brawl which also saw opponent Ryan Wright sent off.

Asked if he was disappointed at Ryan and Minchella losing their cool, Kear said: "No. It's easy for me to say that from the sidelines but if you get belted you belt somebody back and that's what happened.

"That's how it is and we've got to suffer the consequences of it a week on Tuesday (when the players are set to have their disciplinary hearings)."

Young referee Liam Staveley, from Bradford, was in charge of the feisty encounter which also saw Cougars full back Ritchie Hawkyard receive a yellow card.

The match in front of just 1,395 fans was played in ice-cold conditions, including a blizzard, and Kear admitted: "It has been a tough afternoon for the players, the officials and everybody watching.

"We've won and that's a positive but it was a difficult game played in really difficult conditions.

"It slowed the game down and made it hard to achieve what you wanted to achieve. There are some positives but there are negatives as well."

The Cougars were on the end of a 19-6 penalty count which left head coach Craig Lingard "scratching his head".

He insisted indiscipline was not an issue for his team, saying: "A lot of the offences were technical.

"I think the game got out of hand and it was allowed to get out of hand.

"I thought it was great to put a young, inexperienced guy in the middle for a tough local derby and I thought he handled it perfectly well."