The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The Canterbury Bulldogs have continued their winning streak after defeating a spirited St George Illawarra Dragons 28-26 at WIN Stadium today.
The Bulldogs enjoyed a 22-6 lead at half time and looked to be going on with it when they extended their lead to 28-6 in the 44th minute.
But a gutsy comeback from the Dragons saw them score 20 unanswered points and they came within a whisker of stopping the Bulldogs' run. The Dragons were first to score in the 4th minute when prop Luke Bailey forced a ball in the in-goal following a handling error from Canterbury fullback Luke Patten. But the Bulldogs dominated the ruck area and with more than two thirds of the possession were able to run through a sometimes disorganised Dragons line.
Tries to Glenn Hughes, Patten, Willie Talau and Braith Anasta saw the visitors go to break with a handy lead.
Saints finally hit their straps in the 57th minute when Lee Hookey score his 12th try of the year. With more possession, the Dragons continue to score with Cooper, Roberts and Kite all posting four pointers.
With the score at 28-26 and with only three minutes to go, Dragons' Hooker Mark Riddell (pictured) attempted a difficult conversion to level the scores. The ball left his boot well enough but then sliced missing the right side upright by about 30cm.
The Bulldogs managed to hang on and in an exciting finish, the referee had trouble hearing the siren, the Canterbury players and touch judges eventually convincing Paul Simpkins to call full time.
The Bulldogs win may be tainted with forward Paul Rahihi on report for a high tackle on Dragons stand-in skipper Jason Hooper in the 73 minute. The incident saw a concussed Hooper forced from the field. Replays show that Rahihi may have a case to answer.
In an earlier incident, Dragons' second rower, Justin Smith is also on report for a late tackle on Braith Anasta although replays show no high contact.
2:30PM, 14 July 2002 WIN Stadium Referee: P Simpkins Crowd: 18,048
St George Illawarra Dragons 26 (Tries: Bailey, Hookey, Cooper, Roberts, Kite. Goals: Riddell 3/5) defeated by Canterbury Bulldogs 28 (Tries: G Hughes, Patten, Talau, Anasta, Feeney. Goals: El Masri 4/5)
League Unlimited best players: 3- Sherwin (Bulldogs) 2- J Smith (Dragons) 1- Talau (Bulldogs)