The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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With 18 points in each half the Bulldogs secured a comfortable 36-16 win over the Vodafone Auckland Lions in their New South Wales Premier League clash at Mt Smart Stadium today. Tries to second rower Sonny Fai and winger Malo Solomona had the home side in contention at halftime. Solomona's impressive effort right of halftime, aided by Steve Buckingham's splendid conversion, left the Bulldogs with just an 18-10 lead. But with relegated NRL half Daniel Holdsworth in charge, the Bulldogs were in complete control in the second 40 minutes as they scored three more converted tries - one of them to Holdsworth - to bolt to a 36-10 lead with only a few minutes left. Only then did the Vodafone Auckland Lions arrange a try to debutant fullback Kevin Locke, the 2006 Junior Kiwi out of the Northcote club who showed plenty of promise. With his try today, Fai now has eight tries in 11 matches while Solomona has five in 10 matches. They are the team's top two try scorers so far. Match details:
Vodafone Auckland Lions 16 (Sonny Fai, Malo Solomona, Kevin Locke tries; Steve Buckingham 2 conversions). Bulldogs 36 (Trent Cutler 2, Tom Kerr, Billy Ngawini, Daniel Holdsworth, Adam Fielder tries; Brent Crisp 6 conversions). Halftime: 18-10 Bulldogs.