Bulldogs defeat gallant
Raiders

Finals 2006 Week 1
Canterbury Bulldogs 30 v Canberra Raiders 12
at Telstra Stadium
Referee: Shayne Hayne
Crowd: 14,628

Match Summary:

The Bulldogs have overpowered a strong-willed Canberra Raiders side 30-12 at Telstra Stadium tonight in the third qualifying final.

In wet conditions, the Bulldogs crushed the hopes of a premiership for the Canberra team, who wanted to send senior players out on a winning note. But it was not to be.

A powerful performance by the Bulldogs forward pack set the platform for their backs, who proved too strong for their counterparts in the slippery conditions.

In the 68th minute, a Brent Sherwin kick set up a Hazem El Masri try to make the score 30-6, which sealed the win for the home team.

However, the Raiders scored a consolation try in the 73rd minute, when Adrian Purtell crossed the white line to register four points.

Although the Bulldogs were in control in the second-half, scoring three tries and restricting the Green Machine to one, the Raiders started the game well off the back of a Phil Graham try in the 7th minute.

But it all fell apart as the Bulldogs side began to gain momentum and capitalize off knock-ons and poor ball security.

The stars of the night were Bulldogs halves Brent Sherwin and Daniel Holdsworth who worked well together and directed their big and strong forward pack around the park. Willie Mason and captain Andrew Ryan also played well. Hazem El Masri also deserves a mention after picking up a try and kicking 5/5.

The Bulldogs will now enjoy a week off where as the Raiders depart the 2006 finals series, in what is an end of an era.

Captain Clinton Schifcofske, coach Matt Elliot, long serving veterans Jason Crocker and Simon Woolford and highly respected players Jason Smith and Michael Hodgson farewell the nation?s capital.

Scorers:
Canterbury Bulldogs: 30
Tries: Hazem El Masri, Luke Patten, Andrew Ryan, Daniel Holdsworth, Andrew Emelio
Goals: Hazem El Masri 5/5
Canberra Raiders: 12
Tries: Phillip Graham, Adrian Purtell
Goals: Clinton Schifcofske 2/2

By the Clock:
In what should be an epic encounter, the second placed Bulldogs will take on the seventh placed Raiders tonight at Telstra Stadium.

At the start of the year the Canberra side were favourites for the wooden spoon, but now after 26 weeks, they will face the 2004 premiers in the first week of the finals.

They may not have as many stars as the other finals teams, but that doesn?t mean they?re pushovers. The Raiders play a simple game where pressure is limited on their key players. This allows the likes of Schifcofske, Carney, Smith, Withers and Woolford to work their magic and create something out of nothing.

The Bulldogs will run into the match favourites. They?ll look to cause the Raiders problems by rushing up in defence, which will cause problems for the Green Machine attack.

Three of the Bulldogs main forwards will be missing tonight, including Roy Asotasi, Reni Maitua and Tony Grimaldi. But Willie Mason is back from suspension.

A few changes for the Dogs. Ben Roberts comes into the centres. Sonny-Bill Williams moves to lock and Nate Myles will start, moving Chris Armit to the bench. For the Raiders, Simon Woolford will start from the bench, making way for Lincoln Withers who will start at hooker. Craig Frawley has been ruled out. Jason Smith will start at five-eighth. Todd Carney moves to halfback.

The third qualifying final will be underway soon.

Kickoff - Clinton Schifcofske, the Raiders captain, gets us underway as the rain belts down.

2 min: NEWS Brent Sherwin puts a nicely waited qrubber kick into the in-goal but Schifcofske cleans up. Goal-line drop-out.

4 min: NEWS Phil Graham makes a great run and splits the Bulldogs line in half before passing to Schifcofske. The ball goes wide on the last to Purtell but he is rapped up. Bulldogs ball.

7 min: TRY Canberra Raiders
Off the back of a Matt Utai knock-on, the Raiders capatilize. Jason Smith puts a kick in, just missing a Bulldogs player, and Phil Graham picks it up and scores. Schifcofske converts
Raiders 6-0

10 min: NEWS A nice run and then offload from Dogs prop Willie Mason, but five-eighth Daniel Holdsworth knocks-on. Raiders recieve a penalty not long after and then head into Bulldogs teritary. But Crocker knocks-on.

12 min: NEWS The wet conditions are now coming in to play. Both teams are struggling with ball control.

15 min: NEWS Shane Hayne goes upstairs to Video referees Steve Nash and Bill Harrigan on a possible Andrew Ryan try.

15 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
The Bulldogs captain, Andrew Ryan, goes over. Video Referees give the thumbs up. El Masri converts.
6 all.

17 min: NEWS Hayne again goes upstairs on a possible try to Utai. Should be disallowed due to players being in-front of the kicker.

17 min: NO TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Utai's miraculous try which seemed to go through nearly every Bulldogs player try is disallowed. Play heads back up field for a Raiders penalty.

21 min: NEWS More drop-ball from both teams but now, Jason Smith has put it down. Bulldogs have possesion in the Raiders half.

25 min: NEWS The last person you'd expect to put in a left foot grubber kick in to the Raiders in-goal , Willie Mason, earns his side another set of six. Bulldogs once again have the ball inside the Raiders 20.

26 min: NEWS A bizarre bit of play, as Sonny-Bill Williams drops the ball on to the back of his heel, chip kicking over his head, into the Raiders in-goal. Williams looks proud of himself. Schifofske cleans up and gets the ball out in time.

28 min: NEWS It's absolutely bucketing down now here in Sydney. The Dogs fullback Luke Pattern knocks on, and not long after, Phil Graham for the Raiders does to.

31 min: NEWS Brent Sherwin fails to play the ball properly and is penalised, right in front of the posts. Raiders elect to have a scrum.

32 min: NEWS Massive hit by Andrew Ryan and Willie Mason forces a Raiders knock-on and prevents a Raiders try.

37 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Brent Sherwin delivers a beautiful flick pass to the flying Luke Patten close to the line who then dives over and scores. El Masri adds the extras.
Bulldogs 12-6

HALF-TIME

Both teams have struggled with ball control this half which is understandable considering the conditions. Nevertheless, both sides have have thrown the ball around well, and shown some nice attacking skills. The Bulldogs may be leading on the scoreboard, but don't rule out the Raiders who aren't far behind stats wise (well in some stats anyway).

Penalties: BULLDOGS 1 RAIDERS 3
Line breaks: BULLDOGS 2 RAIDERS 1
Tackles: BULLDOGS 127 RAIDERS 189
Miss Tackles: BULLDOGS 2 RAIDERS 10
Offloads: BULLDOGS 6 RAIDERS 0
Errors: BULLDOGS 8 RAIDERS 8
Posession: BULLDOGS 68% RAIDERS 32%

Kickoff - The Bulldogs will get us underway in the second-half, as the rain buckets down again.

41 min: NEWS Lincoln Withers drops the ball off the kick-off and the Bulldogs now have the ball close to the Raiders line.

45 min: NEWS Todd Carney boots the ball down field on the third tackle, catching the Bulldogs off guard. Smart play from the young player in the wet.

52 min: NEWS Raiders have blown a try. They were certain to cross the line, but the 3/4 Adam Mogg threw a ball along the ground to nobody.

53 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
A lovely offload from Bulldogs prop Mark O'Meley, and then a nice run and pass from the fullback Luke Patten, leads to a briliant run from Andrew Emelio who registers four points. El Masri adds another 2 points.
Bulldogs 18-6

58 min: NEWS The Raiders will now recieve another set of six froma Bulldogs line drop-out. It came from a Simon Woolford grubber kick. Raiders now have the ball, but not for long, they've just turned it over.

62 min: NEWS Jason Smith will not return to the field, as he looks on from the sheds. More on this when news comes to hand.

64 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Bulldogs five-eighth Daniel Holdsworth strolls over the line and may have rapped up the game for his team. Holdsworth picked the hole in the Raiders line well. El Masri converts.
Bulldogs 24-6

67 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs
Brent Sherwin tries to add another point, but the strike isn't good.
Bulldogs 24-6

68 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Brent Sherwin puts in an early kick for Hazam El Masri who always knew it was on. He gets a lovely bounce and manages to get his first try of the night. He converts his own try.
Bulldogs 30-6

70 min: NO TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Daniel Holdsworth's try is disallowed and the Bulldogs are penalised. Holdsworth was ankle taped by Raiders players close to his line but just kept on sliding. Corey Hughes gave him a little nudge which was frowned upon by the video referees. Penalty Raiders.

73 min: TRY Canberra Raiders
Adrian Purtell gets his 5th try of the season and gets the last try of the night for the Raiders. Schifcofske converts, possibly for the last time on a rugby league field.
Bulldogs 30-12

77 min: NO TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Ben Roberts was never going to be awarded the try but the referee wanted to check it anyway, just to see if he crossed the side-line before he lost the ball.

FULL-TIME: BULLDOGS 30 - RAIDERS 12

Penalties: BULLDOGS 4 RAIDERS 6
Line breaks: BULLDOGS 7 RAIDERS 2
Tackles: BULLDOGS 255 RAIDERS 344
Miss Tackles: BULLDOGS 12 RAIDERS 21
Offloads: BULLDOGS 11 RAIDERS 3
Errors: BULLDOGS 17 RAIDERS 18

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Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Daniel Holdsworth (Bulldogs)
2 - Willie Mason (Bulldogs)
1 - Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs)
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