Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
The Bulldogs have given their fans renewed hope that 2004 will be their year with a convincing 43-18 victory over the Melbourne Storm at Aussie Stadium this afternoon.
Coming into this game on the back of a shock 30-22 loss to the Cowboys and without star five eighth Braith Anasta, the Bulldogs were expected to struggle against the ever improving Storm who were coming into this match on the back of a convincing 31-14 defeat of the Broncos.
But a 16 point blitz in the first 12 minutes sent the Bulldogs on their way to a comfortable 22-6 lead at halftime with Brent Sherwin dominating proceedings.
The second half was almost a carbon copy of the first with Brent Sherwin being helped by interchange player Johnathon Thurston.
For the Storm it is now time to plan the end of season trip and rue what might have been.
For the Bulldogs it is a date with the Panthers next Saturday night at Aussie Stadium which should see the ground packed to the rafters.
Aussie Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins
BULLDOGS 43 Tries: Thurston 2, Perry, Ryan, El Masri, Tonga, Patten Goals: El Masri 7/8, Sherwin FG defeated STORM 18 Tries: Bell 2, Slater Goals: Orford 3/3
By the clock: Bulldogs 5/8th Braith Anasta is out of today's game with injury and his place is taken by Reni Maitua with Johnathon Thurston being added to the interchange bench. The Storm are as per program for what should be a great game today.
0 min: Kick Off
2 min: News: Storm winger Matt King is denied a try by the video referee after it is ruled that King lost the ball over the tryline.
3 min: Try-Bulldogs: Bulldogs hooker Adam Perry backs up a dummy half run to score under the posts. Hazem El Masri is successful with the conversion to break his own record of most points in a season. Bulldogs 6-0.
9 min: Try-Bulldogs: Andrew Ryan scores after some great lead up work from Brent Sherwin which bamboozled Storm fullback Bills Slater. Hazem El Masri is successful with the conversion. Bulldogs 12-0.
12 min: Try-Bulldogs: Hazem El Masri becomes the first player to score 300 points in a premiership season as he scores to finish a great backline movement started by Brent Sherwin. El Masri is unsuccessful with the conversion. Bulldogs 16-0.
16 min: Try-Storm: Storm centre Steven Bell sprints through a gap in the Bulldogs defence to score under the posts. Matt Orford is successful with the conversion. Bulldogs 16-6.
26 min: News: The Bulldogs put on some enterprising play inside the Storm 20 only for interchange forward Roy Asotasi to drop the ball.
30 min: News: Storm interchange forward Alex Chan is struggling with an injury.
31 min: News: Storm winger Matt King is denied a try by the video referee for the second time today after is ruled that while attempting to catch a Matt Orford bomb he lost it forward.
33 min: Storm captain Stephen Kearney is doing a lot of work in defence.
35 min: Try-Bulldogs: Centre Willie Tonga finishes off another great backline movement by the Bulldogs which went through 6 sets of hands to score in the corner. Hazem El Masri is successful with the conversion Bulldogs 22-6.
39 min: News: Bulldogs second rower is struggling with an injury to his right arm but he stays on the field as he tries and get the feeling back.
Halftime Report: In a fast paced and action packed first half the Bulldogs have dominated thanks to half back Brent Sherwin who has been popping up everywhere. If the Storm are to have any hope of winning today's game they will need to shut Sherwin down.
40 min: The second half gets underway and the rain starts to fall.
42 min: News: Storm interchange forward Antonio Kaufusi is struggling with an injury.
45 min: News: Referee Paul Simpkins gives Storm captain Stephen Kearney a talking to as the Storm are penalised again for holding down in the play the ball.
48 min: Try-Bulldogs: Interchange player Johnathon Thurston puts on a step to beat Dallas Johnson to score next to the posts after receiving an offload from captain Steve Price. Hazem El Masri is successful with the conversion. Bulldogs 28-6.
52 min: Try-Bulldogs: Interchange player Johnathon Thurston takes adavantage of an overlap to put Luke Patten away to score. Hazem El Masri is successful with the conversion to break his own record of most goals in a season. Bulldogs 34-6.
56 min: Try-Storm: Storm centre Steven Bell scores his second try of the afternoon after he is put into a gap by a good short ball from Matt Orford. Orford is successful with the conversion. Bulldogs 34-12.
58 min: Try-Storm: The Storm backline take advantage of some poor defence from the Bulldogs as Billy Slater scores close to the posts. Matt Orford is successful with the conversion. Bulldogs 34-18.
64 min: Goal-Bulldogs: Hazem El Masri is successful with an attempt at penalty goal after Billy Slater is penalised for a flop. Bulldogs 36-18.
71 min: Field Goal-Bulldogs: Brent Sherwin is successful with a field goal attempt from 30 metres out. Bulldogs 37-18.
80 min: Try-Bulldogs: Johnathon Thurston scores his second try of the afternoon after running onto a brilliant kick put in by man of the match Brent Sherwin. Hazem El Masri is successful with the conversion. Bulldogs 43-18.
Fulltime Report: Today showed why the Bulldogs are up there with the Roosters as favoruites for this years premiership. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Sherwin (Bulldogs) 2 - S Price (Bulldogs) 1 - J Thurston (Bulldogs) -----------------------------------------