TRANS-TASMAN PREVIEWS | We've got a look over and made our picks for the opening night of the rep ro...
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The Canterbury Bulldogs have beaten the Sydney Roosters 40-12 at Telstra Stadium in yet another great game of Rugby League to kick off the weekend of football.
It was an intense start from the Bulldogs as Mark O?Meley in particular set a great platform with relentless go forward.
From that great forward work Willie Mason went over in the 7th minute after a smart decision from Sherwin to run the ball on the last tackle.
Ten minutes later Tonga went over for his first of three tries for the night which along with a Pattern try and El Masri penalty goal left the Roosters in a state of shock as they trailed 18-0 after 30 minutes.
Sydney?s chances picked up though as Ryan Cross scored in the corner to put the score at 18-6 at half time.
The Roosters continued to destroy the Bulldogs good work after the break as Fittler produced a bit of magic that eventually saw Crocker plant the ball down under the posts.
From there they never looked back running in two more tries to rap up a very convincing win and put their mark on this year?s title-race.
Telstra Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins Video Referee: Tim Mander. Touch Judges: Steve Carrall, Steve Chiddy Scorers: BULLDOGS Tries: Tonga 3, Mason, Pattern, El Masri, Lolesi Goals: El Masri 6/8 ROOSTERS Tries: Cross, Crocker Goals: Fitzgibbon 2/2
By the clock: 0 min: Kick-off! The Roosters field a virtually full strength side while the Bulldogs will play without Braith Anasta tonight.
4th min: NEWS - The Roosters have made great ground from their first two sets and in only their third play of the match they threw the ball out wide showing a clear intention to attack.
7th min: TRY - Bulldogs. On the last tackle Sherwin decided to run and created an overlap for Tonga who eventually passed back on the inside for big Willie Mason to score. El Masri is as accurate as ever and converts from the sideline - Bulldogs 6-0.
9th min: NEWS - The first penalty of the match has gone to the Roosters putting them hot on attack in the Bulldogs half.
14th min: NEWS - The Bulldogs are playing a very aggressive hard running style of game and already are making in-roads into this Sydney defence.
15th min: NEWS - Brent Sherwin has kicked a 40/20 that kept very low but bet Chris Walker to the side line.
21st min: TRY - Bulldogs. On the back of a penalty the Bulldogs continued their wave of attack. Near the end of the sent it out wide where Pattern flicked the ball round the back for Tonga to stroll over in the corner. El Masri hooks it and fails to convert - Bulldogs 16-0.
24th min: NEWS - The Roosters are under siege and look rattled which has been a rare sight in the last three seasons.
29th min: NEWS - The Bulldogs have been denied a try by the video referee after the final pass in the play from Maitua was ruled to have been knocked on. The Bulldogs have been awarded a penalty 40 metres out though after a high tackle on Mason leading up to the try.
30th min: Hazem El Masri has slotted a penalty goal from 40 metres out - Bulldogs 18-0.
35th min: TRY - Roosters. On the back of a great rum from Fittler, Minichiello ran across field to create an overlap and put Ryan Cross into score out wide. Fitzgibbon converts from the sideline - Bulldogs 18-6.
37th min: NEWS - That try has brought the Roosters right back into the match and they've notably lifted leading into the break.
39th min: NEWS - On the stroke of half time Brent Sherwin attempted a field goal from half way that took the paint off the cross bar as it just went under.
40th min: HALF TIME - It's been almost reversal of form from when these two sides last met earlier on in the season. For the first 30 minutes of the half they were amazingly aggressive and had the Roosters panicking but they will feel they should have more than a 12 point lead. Half time score - Bulldogs 18 Roosters 6.
41st min: The second half is underway!
43rd min: NEWS - The Bulldogs have chosen to deliberately kick for the sideline in their first two sets of six trying to slow things down.
45th min: TRY - Roosters. The Roosters have scored one of the tries of the season. From a loose ball Fittler kicked the ball up into his hands, ran 40 odd metres before giving it to Byrne who off-loaded to Crocker who managed to plant the ball over the line while up-side down in the tackle from Pattern. Fitzgibbon converts - Bulldogs 18-12.
47th min: TRY - Bulldogs. Willie Tonga who is having an absolute blinder tonight put a huge fend on Justin Hodges and ran 30 metres to plant the ball down in the corner and bring the pro-Bulldogs crowd to it's feet. El Masri hits the up-right and fails to convert - Bulldogs 22-12.
53rd min: NEWS - You could feel the tension building and it finally erupted as Tonga and Walker clashed in the play the ball area and it continued all the way over to the sideline. The result was a penalty to the Roosters 25 metres out from the Bulldogs line.
58th min: NEWS - The Roosters certainly haven't thrown the towel in on the back of Hodges send off as the intensity of this match has risen to finals proportions.
61st min: TRY - Bulldogs. From the bomb Maitua took the ball and off-loaded on the inside for Tonga to get his hatrick. El Masri converts from out wide - Bulldogs 28-12.
65th min: NEWS - That last try from the Bulldogs has put a slight damper on the match as a win looks slightly out of reach of the Roosters.
67th min: NEWS - The penalty count is at 6 all.
71st min: TRY - Bulldogs. On the back of a big run from Harris the Bulldogs found themselves on attack in the Roosters half. On the last tackle Sherwin kicked towards the corner and El Masri timed his run beautifully to score. El Masri converts from the sideline - Bulldogs 34-12.
73rd min: NEWS - Luke Ricketson has been put on report for a high tackle on Dennis Scott.
80th min: NEWS - The Roosters have been denied a try by the video referee with Todd Byrne being penalised for a double movement.
80th min: FULL TIME - Despite a good comeback from the Roosters the sending off of Justin Hodges sealed their fate and saw the Bulldogs run away in a performance that showed shades of 2002. Full time score - Bulldogs 40 Roosters 12.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - W Tonga (Bulldogs) 2 - A Ryan (Bulldogs) 1 - M O'Meley (Bulldogs) -----------------------------------------