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The Bulldogs managed to gain control and hold on to their half-time lead to take a 30-20 victory at Canberra Stadium this afternoon.
The super-boot of El Masri was the difference at half-time, his 100% conversion rate giving the Bulldogs a 18-16 lead. And appropriately it was El Masri who scored the final try in the 79th minute to seal the Bulldogs' 4th win in a row, along with their place in the top four.
Troy Thompson opened the day's scoring in the 6th minute, rolling over the line from 5 metres out on the back of a nice ball from late inclusion Glen Buttriss. Another 6 minutes saw another try for the Raiders; Monaghan somehow managed to contort his body into a position where he could ground the ball, video referee Phil Cooley giving him the green light.
Cooley was in the spotlight again 6 minutes later: Monaghan crossed for what would have been his second try but Cooley controversially judged debutant Josh McCrone to have knocked on earlier in the play.
Six tries were scored in a free-flowing first half, the last of which tied the scores in the 40th minute. Goodwin squezed in to the corner and El Masri converted from the sideline to snatch the lead going in to the sheds.
The Bulldogs were penalised a number of times for slowing down the play-the-ball but the Raiders failed to fully capitalise. Thus the third quarter remained scoreless and it wasn't until the 62nd minute that Ennis opened the second half scoring, diving over from dummy-half to extend his side's lead.
Inspirational captain Alan Tongue brought the Raiders back into contention in the 69th minute. He managed to get rid of Luke Patten and two other Bulldogs defenders, crashing over to spark his team back into the game.
But the Bulldogs showed their experience in the last 10 minutes and kept their defence tight. Ennis put a well-weighted grubber into a hole for El Masri to speed through and dive on to confirm the victory.
Next week the Bulldogs host the Tigers while the Raiders stay at home and will be desperate for a win over the Panthers.
Canterbury Bulldogs 30 def Canberra Raiders 20
Round 7 - Sunday April 26th, 2009 2:00pm
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Referee: Ashley Klein & Chris James
Sideline: Gavin Atkins & Jeff Younis
Video: Phil Cooley
Halftime: Raiders 16 Bulldogs 18
Canberra Raiders 20
Tries: Troy Thompson, Joel Monaghan, Adrian Purtell, Alan Tongue
Goals: Josh Dugan (2/4)
Canterbury Bulldogs 30
Tries: Daryl Millard, Ben Hannant, Bryson Goodwin, Michael Ennis, Hazem El Masri
Goals: Hazem El Masri (5/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match
3 Points: Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs)
2 Points: Ben Hannant (Bulldogs)
1 Point: Michael Ennis (Bulldogs)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
RAIDERS: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Adrian Purtell 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joel Monaghan 5. Justin Carney 6. Terry Campese 7. Josh Mccrone 8. David Shillington 19. Glen Buttriss 15. Troy Thompson 14. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs 12. Bronson Harrison 13. Alan Tongue (c) Interchange: 9. Travis Waddell 11. Joe Picker 16. Josh Miller 17. Dane Tilse BULLDOGS: 1. Luke Patten 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Daryl Millard 4. Jamal Idris 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Ben Roberts 7. Brett Kimmorley 8. Ben Hannant 9. Michael Ennis 10. Michael Hodgson 16. Greg Eastwood 12. Andrew Ryan 13. David Stagg Interchange: 11. Gary Warburton 14. Chris Armit 17. Yileen Gordon 19. Jarrad Hickey
TAB Sportsbet Odds: Raiders $1.75 Bulldogs $2.05 Draw $23.00
League Unlimited Poll: Raiders 43% Bulldogs 57%
Toyota Cup: Raiders 36 Bulldogs 52
Welcome to the coverage this afternoon from what looks like a decidedly chilly Canberra Stadium.
Scott Logan is out for the Raiders so their starting side has shuffled around to accommodate that, Glen Buttriss comes in. For the Bulldogs only one minor change with Warburton and Eastwood switching.
These two teams last met in round 26 last year, Canberra took that one 52-34.
This season the Raiders are 2-4, last week they went down to the Titans at Skilled Park. The Bulldogs are 5-1, coming off a big win against the Eels and looking to make it 4 wins in a row.
1 min: We're off! The Raiders have first possession.
2 min: Ennis' first kick rolls dead and the Raiders restart on their 20, Troy Thompson looks to be in trouble already.
3 min: Penalty Raiders and they will have the first attacking set.
4 min: Idris diffuses the Campese bomb with ease.
5 min: Penalty Raiders. Bulldogs trying to slow down the play-the-ball. Raiders start 30m out on attack.
6 min: TRY Canberra Raiders Buttriss gets a quick play-the-ball and gives a good pass to Thompson who crashes over beside the right post. Conversion attempt by Josh Dugan successful. Canberra Raiders 6-0
9 min: Penalty Raiders. Ennis is on report for a grapple tackle. Ryan is not happy about the 3rd penalty in a row and has words.
10 min: The Raiders make good ground, Campese puts up another bomb and again Idris deals with it.
11 min: Ennis makes the break on halfway but puts in a disappointing kick to let the Raiders off the hook.
12 min: Penalty Raiders. Bulldogs had the ball but took the markers out of play. Raiders tap 20m out on attack.
12 min: Video Ref: Monaghan's over the line but did he ground it?
13 min: TRY Canberra Raiders He's given it! Monaghan did extremely well to step a defender and then twist around in a two-man tackle to ground the ball. The Bulldogs pay the price for giving away a penalty in front of their line. Conversion attempt by Josh Dugan successful. Canberra Raiders 12-0
16 min: Penalty Bulldogs. The marker was offside. Bulldogs have their first attacking set, starting 20m out.
17 min: Kimmorley bombs to his left wing but it's in touch off a Bulldog's hand.
18 min: Video Ref: Monaghan's over again! McCrone may have knocked on in trying to gather his own grubber though? Campese kicked off the ground into the arms of Monaghan who put the foot down for 20m to the tryline.
18 min: NO TRY. A contentious call goes the way of the Bulldogs, McCrone deemed to have knocked on.
22 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs What a try. Roberts made the break and somehow got away an offload. Millard crashed over in the corner and did well to ground it with four defenders on his back. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canberra Raiders 12-6
23 min: The Raiders are gifted an attacking set as the Bulldogs let the kickoff bounce dead.
24 min: TRY Canberra Raiders Campese throws a huge cut-out ball to Purtell who canters over and dots down easily. Conversion attempt by Josh Dugan unsuccessful. Canberra Raiders 16-6
28 min: The Bulldogs make a break, Roberts puts in a grubber to the left wing but he has overhit it.
29 min: The Bulldogs have repeat sets on attack, a kick bounces off Alan Tongue back to Ennis.
30 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Ennis comes out of dummy-half and gives a nice cut-out ball to Hannant who cruises over untouched, under the posts. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canberra Raiders 16-12
33 min: Dugan looked to be in trouble with an ankle problem but now shows good pace to prevent a Kimmorley 40-20.
35 min: Raiders restart from their 20 as Ennis puts another one dead.
36 min: Penalty Raiders and they will start 10m out on attack. Millard penalised for obstruction.
37 min: Ennis hits McCrone hard and dislodges the ball. McCrone stays down but looks to be ok.
38 min: Kimmorley spots a hole and chips into it, Carney and Dugan both go for the ball and knock-on. Bulldogs scrum 40m out on attack.
39 min: Dugan takes a grubber off the post but is trapped in-goal.
40 min: Video Ref: Goodwin is over in the corner but may have a foot out-of-play?
40 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Some smooth passing from the Bulldogs creates an extra man out wide, Goodwin darts in to the corner to tie up the scores before halftime. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful and the Bulldogs have the lead. Canterbury Bulldogs 18-16
41 min: We're off again and the Bulldogs have first ball this half.
43 min: Kimmorley doesn't look too comfortable after receiving a good knock to the head.
45 min: Penalty Raiders. Again the Bulldogs stay in the tackle too long, Raiders start 40m out on attack.
46 min: Bulldogs off the hook as Miller puts down a pass from Tongue.
47 min: 40-20! Ennis puts it out just before the flag, his first one this year.
48 min: Scrum Raiders. Good pressure sees a knock-on from Roberts.
49 min: Penalty Raiders. This time it's Idris not moving away. Raiders on attack.
52 min: Bulldogs restart on their 20 as Millard takes a kick in-goal.
53 min: Penalty Raiders and this time he calls time-off for another chinwag with Ryan about slowing down the play-the-ball.
54 min: Penalty Bulldogs. Patten was trapped in-goal but Waddell was in front of the kicker.
56 min: The Raiders will dropout as Carney is trapped in-goal from a Kimmorley grubber.
57 min: The Bulldogs must not have realised it was the last tackle and it's a turnover.
58 min: Raiders make some great ground and Patten is trapped in-goal so the Bulldogs will dropout.
60 min: Penalty Bulldogs. Markers not square. The Raiders couldn't come up with anything in their attacking set.
62 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs The Bulldogs get repeat sets on attack and Ennis takes advantage, diving over from dummy-half beside the right post. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 24-16
64 min: Big hit on Hodgson from Learoyd-Lahrs, Hodgson struggling a bit now and comes off the field.
66 min: Scrum Raiders. The Bulldogs had repeat sets again but were called for a forward pass.
68 min: Penalty Raiders. Millard is called for a grapple. Raiders now hot on attack.
69 min: TRY Canberra Raiders Fanatastic solo effort from Tongue, he pumps the big shanks for 10 metres to get rid of three defenders and dot down. Conversion attempt by Josh Dugan unsuccessful. Canterbury Bulldogs 24-20
70 min: Scrum Bulldogs near halfway. Idris took an elbow to the throat and has stayed down.
74 min: The Bulldogs had repeat attacking sets but the Raiders manage to hold them out.
75 min: The Bulldogs mess up another last tackle, not getting a kick away. Turnover.
76 min: Campese puts up a big bomb but it is too deep and Goodwin takes it in-goal.
77 min: Roberts kicks early and puts it out 5m from the Raiders' line.
78 min: Eastwood intercepts a Raiders pass and the Bulldogs get down the other end.
79 min: Video Ref - El Masri grabs an Ennis grubber. Checking the grounding.
79 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs The try is given and that's a Bulldogs victory sealed by El Masri. Ennis spotted Dugan out of position and put in a grubber, El Masri showed good speed to reach and ground it. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 30-20