The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The Canterbury Bulldogs have scored a 6-4 victory over the Melbourne Storm in front of 13,000 fans at a cold and wet AAMI Park in Melbourne.
The First half was a very even affair with both sides matching each other in both attack and defence with all the statistics showing both sides were able to match what the other was giving in attack and defence.
Despite huge opportunities for both the Melbourne Storm and the Canterbury Bulldogs, only the Storm were able to get the try and that came through Kevin Proctor when a trademark right side attacking play from the Storm main men and they took the lead 4-0 after Cameron Smith missed the conversion.
Although that was the only scoring play of the first half, Minutes earlier, the Storm crossed the line through Mahe Fonua but was held up and the on-field ruling was upheld by the Video Referees.
The second half was where the Bulldogs began to dominate although they couldn't break through the Storm defence. It was off the back of consecutive penalties in the opening six minutes of the second half that Bulldogs were able to score through Sam Kasiano. The Bulldogs try came when Sam Kasiano reached out to score following a James Graham offload after looking like he was held and the Storm defenders were preparing for the next tackle, following the conversion from Trent Hodkinson the Bulldogs had a 6-4 lead.
Both sides went from end to end and had plenty of close calls in defence, Bulldogs were able to catch out Marika Koroibete several times with the high ball out wide but couldn't convert repeat sets into points, just like the Storm could capitalise on their repeats sets to score points.
The biggest talking point of the match will be the decision from Cameron Smith to take a shot a penalty goal from the siren from the sideline to try to level the scores with 3 minutes to play, the penalty attempt went across the face of goal and the Bulldogs ended up with the ball once again.
The Win puts the Bulldogs back level with the Manly Sea Eagles in first place and they stay 2 points clear of the Panthers who have a game in hand on Monday night.
Next weekend, the Melbourne Storm stay at AAMI Park and will be hoping for better conditions when they take on the Canberra Raiders, meanwhile the Canterbury Bulldogs return to their home ground but not the home team dressing room, when they take on the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium next Sunday.
LATE MAIL: Melbourne Storm - Cooper Cronk has been declared fit to play tonight for the Storm in the halves, he wears 21. Marika Koroibete will make his club debut on the wing after signing from Wests Tigers. Tohu Harris and Jordan McLean move into the starting side, Ryan Hoffman and Ryan Hinchcliffe shift to the bench.
LATE MAIL: Bulldogs - Drury Low onto the wing with Josh Morris ruled out. Krisnan Inu to shifts to centre inside Corey Thompson. Josh Jackson starts at 5/8th in place of Josh Reynolds who was suspended for three games. Tim Browne starts at prop with Sam Kasiano moving to lock.
Cold and Wet down in Melbourne tonight - something that is pretty regular down there
1: Gerard Sutton calls time on and the Bulldogs have first possession of the ball
1: Bulldogs go high on the last and Billy Slater takes it easily
3: Bulldogs working it towards halfway, Michael Ennis throwing his arms up for a penalty but not coming
5: Grant Atkins rules a goalline dropout for the Bulldogs however the Video Refs take a look and replays show no Bulldogs touch and therefore we go to the 20m for a restart
9: Bulldogs on the attack in the Storm half after getting a scrum just on the Storm side of halfway
18: Storm get back to back penalties, one for hand on the ball & one for a second effort in the tackle
22: Bulldogs find Billy Slater on the full after working the ball away from their own end
23: UNFORCED ERROR MELBOURNE STORM
Marika Koroibete makes an unforced error.
Marika Koribete drops the ball trying to play it way too quickly
24: Mahe Fonua goes high and takes an AFL style speccie but now is down injured for his effort
24: Mahe Fonua stays on the field but is limping badly
26: Cooper Cronk has to kick from his own 20m and the Bulldogs take it about 35m from their own line
27: The Bulldogs kick goes one bounce too many and goes dead, Storm with the 7 tackle set 20m out
29: Some good play from the Storm sees them find space then a kick from Cronk to Slater is batted dead by Greg Eastwood
31: 4 Tackles into the set and the Bulldogs can't get past the 10m
31: The fifth tackle didn't get much better for the Bulldogs, Hodkinson forced to kick from 15m out
35: Marika Koroibete shows his strength and forces a goal line dropout
40: Half Time at AAMI Park and its the Melbourne Storm leading by 4-0
40: The Canterbury Bulldogs are coming back out to the field at AAMI Park in a literally even half bar the 4-0 score
41: Krisnan Inu puts boot to ball and we are back underway in the second half
44: Bulldogs now on the attack after getting a penalty after Grant Atkins ruled that the Storm defenders made a second effort in the tackle
46: TRY CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Scored by Sam Kasiano. Kick to come.
Sam Kasiano uses his strength to reach out and plant the ball down after James Graham got an offload when he looked to have been held
53: Melbourne Storm go the short dropout and get the ball back, Referees not sure whether it went 10 but call play on
54: Storm go high, Billy Slater gets checked several times on running and its taken ingoal by the Bulldogs
57: Bulldogs getting the rub of the pink at the moment, another penalty to put them into attacking position
66: Storm go through with a kick and the Bulldogs are forced to clean it up but Marika Koroibete uses a shoulder and is penalised accordingly
71: Michael Ennis penalised for being offside in the play, Melbourne 25m out from Storm line
74: UNFORCED ERROR CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Timoteo Lafai makes an unforced error.
Tim Lafai cleans up a tapback but Steve Carrall the touch judge notices a knock on in the clean up, Storm scrum 10m out
75: Mahe Fonua flies high and tackles the Cronk kick but is pulled down 2m out from the try line
76: UNFORCED ERROR CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Dale Finucane makes an unforced error.
Dale Finucane drops the ball in the play the ball, then blows up about the call, though replay shows its the right call from Gerard Sutton
76: PENALTY STORM: Bulldogs penalised for taking out Marika Koroibete on the chase
77: Cameron Smith is going for the penalty goal from the sideline
80: BULLDOGS WIN - They score a 6-4 victory