Sunday May 18, 2014 @ 02:00pm
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
New Zealand Warriors
FMG Stadium Waikato
Half time Score: 4
Crowd: 17673
Half time Score: 6

Match Review

The Warriors came out strongly and looked well up for it in the first 20 minutes, running hard and stringing multiple passes and offloads together. Their endeavour was rewarded in the 13th minute when Ben Matulino crashed onto a Nathan Friend short ball from close range and was strong enough to plant the ball down amid a lot of Bulldogs attention.

The second twenty minutes of the first half belonged to the Bulldogs however, as they ground their way back into the game through set completions and their forwards. James Graham and Sam Kasiano in particular caused a lot of problems for the Warriors defence around the ruck, and it was only desperate Warriors defence that held them out on multiple occasions. They did finally crack however eight minutes from the break, with a nice cutout pass from Kasiano finding Mitch Brown who crossed in the corner. Trent Hodkinson's missed conversion meant the Warriors went into the sheds with a slim 6-4 half time lead.

The Bulldogs continued their momentum after the break, and dominated the game up until the 60th minute, controlling possession and territory. They took the lead not long after the break when James Graham ran a beautiful line onto a nice Hodkinson pass, and extended it in the 54th minute when some hot potato football saw Greg Eastwood crash onto a nice offload from Sam Perrett. A Hodkinson penalty goal 15 minutes later saw the lead extend to 10 points but even though the Bulldogs had dominated the half they were still not outside the Warriors reach.

This proved to be the case with just over five minutes left, when a resurgent Warriors team enjoyed multiple sets on the Bulldogs line. They finally got the breakthrough when Ben Henry crossed in the corner. Johnson's brilliant conversion meant the Warriors were within four and the Bulldogs must have been scratching their heads that they had let it get so close. They would have been even more nervous if it hadn't been for some desperate cover defence, most notably from Josh Morris who cut down a brilliant Shaun Johnson break just before the tryline and bundled Johnson into touch in the process.

The Warriors received one last chance to steal the game after the Bulldogs spilled a Sam Tomkins bomb, however they couldn't breach the Bulldogs' defence and the Bulldogs held on for yet another gutsy win that has typified their season so far. They'll remain alone at the top of the table. The Warriors meanwhile, should remain in good sprits after a decent performance despite some questionable handling and discipline.

Canterbury will likely miss a host of Origin stars after a fantastic opening ten rounds as they head home to host reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters on Friday. Meanwhile the Origin-unaffected Warriors have a trip to the Gold Coast where the Titans will host them on Saturday evening.

Players of the Match

3. James Graham

2. Sam Kasiano

1. Konrad Hurrell

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