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An early rush almost wasn't enough for the Bulldogs, but they've held on tonight to beat the Gold Coast Titans 23-16 in the second leg of the Suncorp Stadium double header.
The opening points came quickly from the "home" side the Bulldogs, Andrew Ryan slicing through the Titans defence with relative ease before linking up with Luke Patten, who kicked through for a flying Josh Morris to score. The next try for the blue-and-white came just eight minutes after, Jamal Idris using sheer strength and determination to trample down the touchline before grounding the ball in the corner.
The Titans begun to live up to their name in defence as minutes began to tick by, but another break in the 30th minute saw Josh Morris cross for his second, rolling over the line and getting the ball down to extend the Bulldogs lead. Canterbury held the lead and took it into halftime, and things looked ominous for the Gold Coast.
It wasn't all fun and games for the Bulldogs in the second half, the Titans crossing for a try after some controlled play in the 53rd minute, Scott Prince finding a flying Mat Rogers on a cross-field lofted kick, and the Gold Coast were finally on the board.
Both teams continued to pressure each other, and a moment of madness provided a chance for the Titans when Matt Utai up-ended a Titans outside back and found himself on report. A few sets later though the Bulldogs got themselves in good field position and scored a quality try through some good hands by Jamal Idris and Daniel Holdsworth. They linked up with Hazem El Masri to seemingly put the game away, but in the final ten minutes the Titans were able to cross twice through Kevin Gordon and Mat Rogers to bring themselves within six. They soon began to rush their plays however, and the Bulldogs simply ground their way into the Titans half, and found Brett Kimmorley who slotted the match-winning field goal to put the result beyond doubt.
It was Kimmorley and fullback Patten who rated amongst the best on the park for the Bulldogs, while Mat Rogers and David Mead were equally as impressive for the Titans. The Bulldogs will take this victory in their stride and welcome back a full contigent for next weeks home clash against Parramatta at ANZ Stadium on Saturday evening. Ben Hannant returns from injury for the blue-and-whites while Bryson Goodwin and Greg Eastwood are both welcomed back from two-week suspensions. The Titans will head down the Pacific Motorway back to their Skilled Park home next Friday night to take on a sore and sorry Brisbane Broncos team whom will likely still be missing Darren Lockyer.
A solid win for the Bulldogs tonight but the Titans certainly didn't disgrace themselves and were in a position to win the match late, had the chips fallen their way.
Match Details Canterbury Bulldogs 23 def Gold Coast Titans 16 Round 19 - Friday July 17th, 2009 08:30pm Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Referee: Jared Maxwell & Ben Cummins Sideline Officials: Jeff Younis & Chris James Video Referee: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 50,109 (Double Header) Halftime: Bulldogs 16 Titans 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Luke Patten (Bulldogs) 2 Points: Brett Kimmorley (Bulldogs) 1 Point: Mat Rogers (Titans)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Bulldogs v Titans double header forum discussion - click here!
Before this clash, the first game of the Suncorp Stadium double header took place - Click here to check out what happened in the Broncos v Rabbitohs match earlier tonight.
Still here at Suncorp Stadium for the second match of this double header, this one promises to be a cracker with the 2nd placed Bulldogs and 3rd placed Titans taking on each other. Origin has had minimal impact on this game, the Bulldogs' NSW contigent all backing up tonight, and they'll be boosted by the surprise return of Jamal Idris, who will replace Daryl Millard in the centres after overcoming an arm injury. A positional change also with Gordon dropping back to the bench with Gary Warburton to start. The Titans on the other hand will be missing Ashley Harrison after he succumbed to injury after Origin. Brad Meyers will start in his place, Will Matthews coming on to the bench. The teams are as follows:
BULLDOGS: 1. Luke Patten 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Josh Morris 19. Jamal Idris 5. Matt Utai 6. Ben Roberts 7. Brett Kimmorley 8. Jarrad Hickey 9. Michael Ennis 10. Michael Hodgson 20. Gary Warburton 12. Andrew Ryan 13. David Stagg Interchange: 11. Yileen Gordon 14. Brad Morrin 15. Chris Armit 17. Daniel Holdsworth TITANS: 1. Preston Campbell 2. Kevin Gordon 3. Esi Tonga 4. Brett Delaney 5. David Mead 6. Mat Rogers 7. Scott Prince (c) 8. Luke Bailey 9. Nathan Friend 10. Michael Henderson 11. Anthony Laffranchi 12. Mark Minichiello 15. Brad Meyers Interchange: 14. Matt White 16. Daniel Conn 17. William Zillman 19. Will Matthews
The first game of the double header is complete, it's now down to the ground, with play to start in a few minutes from now.
Kickoff: We're underway.
1 min: Gold Coast's first kick trickles dead and the 'Dogs are able to earn a 20m restart.
3 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs A break from Andrew Ryan and he's able to offload for Patten, he spots his centre coming through, puts the kick in and it's Josh Morris with the try! Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0
6 min: Ryan pushes through again and Matt Utai is away down the touchline! He throws it in-field for Morris and the 'Dogs are close! Roberts charges at the line, held up. They spread it wide on five but Warburton can't get through the defence.
7 min: Nathan Friend went down with a knee complaint in the Roberts hold-up earlier, he looks to be OK now.
9 min: A Scott Prince kick on the last bounces dead despite Patten's attempts to get the ball. 20m restart for the Bulldogs.
11 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs A fantastic break this time down the right side by... you guessed it... Jamal Idris. He palms off numerous defenders to get it down in the corner. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri unsuccessful. Canterbury Bulldogs 10-0
13 min: Idris puts a big hit on Anthony Laffranchi. Later in the set the Titans have made their way into the Bulldogs half and force a repeat set.
14 min: Ennis managed a one-on-one strip on Brad Meyers to get the 'Dogs out of trouble.
16 min: Almost a quarter of the game gone and still no penalties blown by referees Maxwell & Cummins, a free-flowing affair so far.
18 min: A bomb on the last and Mead has taken it, he's going to score... NO! Held up by Patten, remarkable defence from the General in his 250th match.
20 min: The Bulldogs with some enterprising play but it ends with Ben Roberts fluffing a pass to Morris which ends up on the floor and then in touch. Titans with the handover.
21 min: PENALTY Titans - first of the game, to the Gold Coast for offside play by the Bulldogs. The Titans will attack now... and they knock it on after the third tackle.
22 min: El Masri's spilled it as well and the Titans will go back on the attack from 20m out.
23 min: Now the Gold Coast drop it again and the Bulldogs will have a scrum.
25 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Bulldogs try Hazem El Masri has scored a try but Scott Prince may have raked it, or Patten may have dropped it. Anyone's guess for the ruling... NO TRY. Knock on ruled, Titans feed.
26 min: The Bulldogs scrambling defence does the job again as David Mead looked almost certain to score, but they bundle him into touch and force an error.
28 min: PENALTY Bulldogs - Laffranchi laying around too long in the tackle and the Bulldogs will get some attacking football now.
29 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Bulldogs try Josh Morris has rolled into the in-goal area off a ball from Luke Patten who had made a line break. Looks good as he's got it down with momentum in the tackle. Decision pending...
30 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Morris' second try of the night is awarded and the 'Dogs are on fire in attack tonight. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 16-0
33 min: PENALTY Titans - Warburton not doing enough to get out of the way and the Titans now have their best chance to get on the board.
34 min: PENALTY Titans - Morris now in trouble for interfering with the play the ball. The Titans are close enough to take the tap and will challenge the Bulldogs' line again.
36 min: Last tackle option for the Gold Coast was poor, Luke Bailey ending up with the kick and it bounces once and over the dead ball line. 20m restart for the 'Dogs.
38 min: Some end-to-end sets from both sides as the half winds to a close. Ennis with a last tackle kick that ends up behind the goalposts, Preston Campbell plays hide and seek between the goalposts with him and gets out into the field of play as a result.
40 min: PENALTY Titans - Prince bombs the ball following the penalty kick for touch but Idris has it safely. The teams go to the sheds with the 'Dogs very much in control.
HALFTIME: Bulldogs 16 Gold Coast Titans 0 A strong showing from the "home" side so far, the Bulldogs crossing for three entertaining tries from long range. Their defence is worth a mention too, in particular an 18th minute hold-up by Luke Patten on David Mead. The Titans will need to lift their game considerably to get the chocolates tonight, but stranger things have happened.
41 min: A big bomb from Kimmorley on the last and Idris is flying through to put pressure on Gordon - but Mat Rogers manages to come in and take the ball and get out of the road quickly on his own 10m line.
43 min: A last-tackle kick from Ennis down the touchline puts pressure on Campbell but it trickles dead.
46 min: A Bulldogs knock on gives the Titans a shot at the tryline now.
47 min: Prince's last tackle kick goes dead with Luke Patten willing it to do so, 20m restart for the Bulldogs.
49 min: Some good running on this set from the Titans and a Scott Prince bomb on the fifth... but Utai is able to defuse it and the 'Dogs hold strong.
51 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Titans try Mat Rogers has grabbed it out of the air from a cross-field kick and it all looks good for the Gold Coast number six.
52 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Nearly an hour in and the Gold Coast are on the board through an aerial effort from Mat Rogers, courtesy of a Scott Prince cross-field kick. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 16-6
54 min: The Titans with some momentum, Patten makes a meal of a fifth tackle grubber, Gordon comes through and kicks it further ahead but it goes dead before the support can get to it. Bulldogs 20m restart.
57 min: A silly pass from Jamal Idris on tackle four goes behind El Masri and into touch about 30m out from the Titans line, just as they started to look dangerous again.
59 min: A deep kick from Kimmorley puts pressure on Zillman in-goal, but he gets out of the in-goal and makes 15 metres before being dragged down. The Titans making easy metres on this set as the 'Dogs defence weakens.
60 min: The Titans go wide on the fourth but one of the passes is called forward, the 'Dogs out of gaol. Nope, Matt Utai has been penalised for a lifting tackle - PENALTY Titans - and Utai is ON REPORT. Titans a chance with the ball five out.
61 min: Prince spills the ball on the second tackle and they've given away a big chance to close the gap. Still plenty of time remaining though.
65 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Hazem El Masri finishes off a superb backline movement, Idris pushing down the right side, who gets it inside for Daniel Holdsworth, who rolls it inside for El Masri in support. He betters his position and he's in under the posts. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 22-6
67 min: A brilliant attacking set from the 'Dogs and a bomb from Kimmorley forces a repeat set for the Canterbury side.
CROWD: 50,109 for the double header tonight.
68 min: Ryan charges toward the line, he tries getting the ball loose despite the attention of four Titans defenders, but it bounces into the hands of the defenders and then backwards, and is ruled a knock on. Titans scrum on their own ten.
71 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans Kevin Gordon puts on a superb little grubber down the sideline, getting in behind Idris and then wrongfoots Patten to score under the posts. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 22-12
72 min: PENALTY Titans - they have a big chance here to get themselves back into this one. Now PENALTY Bulldogs, Will Matthews didn't rise all the way to play the ball, although the referee hasn't noticed the Bulldogs player holding the Titans interchange man down.
76 min: TRY Gold Coast Titans The Titans go wide and once-winger, now five-eighth Mat Rogers fools the defence and is able to streak away and score in the corner. Conversion attempt by Scott Prince unsuccessful. Canterbury Bulldogs 22-16
77 min: Prince puts the bomb up, for some insane reason the Bulldogs players allow it to bounce - an absolute coach killer! Luckily Kimmorley is on hand to wrap it up and the 'Dogs breathe a sigh of relief.
78 min: 3rd tackle and the ball is touched by a Titan in a 'Dogs offload, it's six again for the Bulldogs.
79 min: FIELD GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs Kimmorley sets it nicely from just over 30m out. The 'Dogs will get home in this one. Canterbury Bulldogs 23-16
FULLTIME: Bulldogs 23 Gold Coast Titans 16 An interesting game finishes in a win for the Bulldogs who now go clear in second place with the spoils today. That marks the end of the double header action tonight, hope you've enjoyed the four straight hours of NRL action tonight - check back tomorrow as the Panthers take on Canberra from 5:30pm.