25 rounds, 192 games, #Origin on a Sunday, and a September Grand Final.
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The game kicked off with a thunderous roar from the skies above instead of the crowd, as rain was dumped down on the ground. With the rain coming down the match was always going to be messy as both teams struggled to hold on to a slippery ball. Defense and pressure were always going to be the name of the game, and both teams did it well, both teams charging down several last tackle kicks in the first half.
With the Bulldogs kicking off, the Eagles had the first chance with the ball, and looked to have worked it out well in their first set of six. That was until Bulldogs chasers charged down the kick on the last tackle. The Eagles scrambled well as the Bulldogs got the ball and attacked from the charge down, holding Travis Norton up over the line. Mason proved to much of a handful out wide as he unloaded in traffic to put Patten over. El Masri converted out wide to make it 6 ? 0 after 2 minutes.
The game then settled into a simple affair as both teams tested each other out, the Eagles standing up well to the title contenders. Only a moment of brilliance by Feeney on the back of a strong Mason run broke the game open. After breaking the line he put in a nicely weighted kick, which saw a flying El Masri score after strong kick chase. The only scoring the Eagles managed even after having all the football and field position in the last ten minutes of the first half were two penalty conversions that split the Bulldog tries.
After leading 12 ? 4 at halftime the Bulldogs came out all guns blazing for the first 10 minutes leading to a brilliant try in the 52nd minute with the Bulldogs running it on the last tackle. After an Anasta break he passes to Feeney who got a sensational inside pass to Vagana to score, giving the Bulldogs a 16 ? 4 lead.
The Eagles had to be next to score, but it was the Bulldogs who scored next through Feeney, after a Norton break. From then on the result was never in doubt, leading 22 ? 4 after 65 minutes the Bulldogs were never going to be run down. Not even a late 75th minute try to the Eagles put the result in doubt, and an intercept try to Utai in the 79th minute put the score out to 28 ? 10, a true reflection of the game.
Bulldogs 28 ( Patten, El Masri, Vagana, Feeney, Utai Tries, El Masri 4 Goals ) Defeated Eagles 10 ( Beckett Try, Lavea 3 Goals )