After another controversial week off the field which saw Willie Mason fined $10000. The Bulldogs reaffirmed their status as one of this years teams to beat with a come from behind 24-20 victory over the Cronulla Sharks this evening at the Sydney Showground.
But for those fans who saw the first 10 minutes, it seemed the Bulldogs off field controveries had gotten the better of them as the Sharks raced to a 12-0 lead after 10 minutes.
But tonight wasn't all good news for the Bulldogs as hooker Corey Hughes looks likely to spend the next 4 weeks on the sidelines with a collarbone injury he suffered early in the first half. For Sharks fans tonight would have given them some optimism that they will improve on their efforts of 2003 where they missed the playoffs for the first time in 5 years.
By the clock: 0 min: Kick Off 4 min: News: Hazem El Masri misses out on a golden try scoring opportunity as he drops a Brent Sherwin cross field bomb over the line. 6 min: News: Bad news for Bulldogs fans as Corey Hughes is receiving attention for a shoulder injury. 7 min: Try-Sharks: Matthew Rieck sprints 50 metres to score in the corner after running on to a brilliant cut out pass from Brett Kimmorley. Kimmorley is unsuccessful with the conversion: Sharks 4-0. 9 min: Try-Sharks: Nathan Merritt scores after a Brett Kimmorley kick richotes off the post. Kimmorley is successful with the conversion. Sharks 10-0 12 min: Goal-Sharks: Brett Kimmorley is successful with a penalty goal attempt after Braith Anasta is penalised for a high tackle. Sharks 12-0 22 min: News: Bulldogs hooker Corey Hughes is diagnosed with a broken collarbone and looks like he will be out for the next 4 weeks. 25 min: Try-Bulldogs: Brent Sherwin scores a superb length of the field try off a mistimed David Peachey grubber. Hazem El Masri is successful with conversion. Sharks 12-6 31 min: News: Sharks fullback David Peachey is sent to the sin bin for a professional foul. 33 min: Try-Bulldogs: Interchange forward Hutch Maiava plunges over under the posts for a try. Hazem El Masri is successful with the conversion. 12 all. 36 min: Goal-Sharks: Brett Kimmorley is successful with an attempt at a penalty goal from right in front after the Bulldogs are penalised for offside 20 metres out from their line. Sharks 14-12 Halftime: After a shaky start where they conceded 2 tries the Bulldogs look like they are living up to their reputation as a team that excels in the face of adversity with the kicking game of Brent Sherwin playing havoc with the Sharks defence. Even though the Sharks are ahead by 2 points they look like they are about to be overun by a Bulldogs side with something to prove. 57 min: News: Sharks captain Brett Kimmorley misses a sitter of an attempt at a penalty goal just 20 metres out from the Bulldogs line after Andrew Ryan and Willie Mason are penalised for a high tackle. 59 min: Try-Sharks: Sharks 5/8 Greg Bird scores on the back of a great hard and bustling run by Andrew Lomu. Kimmorley is successful with the conversion. Sharks 20-12 62 min: News: Bulldogs rookie sensation Sonny Bill Williams is back on the field after an extended break in the blood bin. 62 min: Try-Bulldogs: Inspirational Bulldogs captain scores after peforming a charge down a Brett Kimmorley kick and running 25 metres to score next to the posts. Hazem El Masri is successful with the conversion. Sharks 20-18 67 min: News: Bulldogs five-eighth Johnathon Thurston commits a cardinal sin br knocking the ball on off a Sharks drop out. 72 min: News: Sharks interchange player Michael Sullivan drops the ball just short of the Bulldogs line. 77 min: Try-Bulldogs: Willie Tonga scores in the corner after a great offload from Braith Anasta. Hazem El Masri is successful with the conversion from the sideline. Fulltime: A great win by the Bulldogs but not after a shaky start in which they found themselves 12-0 down after only 10 minutes. Tonight proved that the recent off field controversies haven't played havoc with their on field performances. For Sharks fans this game will give them plenty of hope of a great improvement on the dissapointment of 2003 and also saw the return of promising young centre Paul Franze from a long layoff with injury. Match Stats: Penalties: Bulldogs 11-8 Completions: Bulldogs 29/48, Sharks 29/42 Tackles: Bulldogs 279, Sharks 250 ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 -S Price (Bulldogs) 2 -B Kimmorley (Sharks) 1 -M Sullivan (Sharks) -----------------------------------------