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The Bulldogs managed to keep their cool and hang on to a 14-12 lead at a slippery ANZ Stadium this evening. The conditions meant for some old-fashioned football, ball control and kicking the keys.
Latecomers to the venue would have missed tonight's first try. Committing what seems to be an increasingly common error, the Bulldogs put the kickoff out on the full. This gave the Rabbitohs the first attack which they did not waste. Champion burst over and the video referee confirmed the grounding.
The momentum swung the way of the Bulldogs for the second quarter and they capitalised. In the 21st minute Morris showed brilliant athleticism to grab and ground a bouncing chip-kick not a hair from the dead-ball line. Again the video referee was called into action and again he pressed the green button.
Just three minutes later Ryan was in for the third week in a row. Ennis put him through a gaping hole in the Rabbitoh's defense and Ryan danced over the line. A bit of excitement followed the grounding with a group of players tussling in the in-goal. Ryan and Luke were at the centre of it and Luke was put on report for his part. He wouldn't appear to be at risk of suspension.
The score remained 12-6 in favour of the Bulldogs at half-time. Predictably both sides were committing numerous handling errors and needed to adapt further to the conditions.
The first scoring play of the second half didn't come until the 55th minute. The Bulldogs were given a penalty 40 metres out, Ennis couldn't find El Masri so put it over himself. This put the Rabbitohs more than a converted try behind.
In the 74th minute the Rabbitohs got themselves back into the game with the try of the match. Sutton took over kicking duties and put in a perfect grubber for Pettybourne to gratefully grab and dot down. Sandow's conversion made it a 2-point margin with a frenetic 5 minutes remaining.
The Rabbitohs couldn't break through again though and it remained 14-12 for another Bulldogs victory. The win gives the Bulldogs more victories than the Rabbitohs this season, however the Bunnies remain above them on the ladder due to the Bulldogs being stripped of two points for fielding a 14th man in round two.
Chris Sandow put in his first disappointing performance of the season with a number of poor kicks. This left the Rabbitohs lost for inspiration at times. Meanwhile Ennis seemed to be involved in every decisive play in both attack and defense, another man-of-the-match performance.
Both teams will be back at ANZ Stadium next week. The Rabbitohs take on the Sea Eagles on Saturday while on Sunday the Eels host the Bulldogs.
Match Details Canterbury Bulldogs 14 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 Round 5 - Monday April 13th, 2009 7:00pm Venue: ANZ Stadium Referee: Ashley Klein & Brett Suttor Sideline Officials: Adam Devcich & Mohamad Fajajo Video Referee: Sean Hampstead Crowd: 22,775 Half Time: Bulldogs 12-6
Canterbury Bulldogs 14 Tries: Josh Morris, Andrew Ryan Goals: Hazem El Masri (2/2), Michael Ennis (1/1) South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 Tries: Beau Champion, Eddy Pettybourne Goals: Chris Sandow (1/1), Issac Luke (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Michael Ennis (Bulldogs) 2 Points: Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs) 1 Point: Ben Roberts (Bulldogs)
Leagueunlimited.com Live Commentary BULLDOGS: 1. Luke Patten 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Josh Morris 4. Daryl Millard 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Ben Roberts 7. Brett Kimmorley 8. Ben Hannant 9. Mick Ennis 10. Michael Hodgson 11. Gary Warburton 12. Andrew Ryan 13. David Stagg Interchange: 14. Matt Utai 15. Chris Armit 16. Greg Eastwood 17. Yileen Gordon
RABBITOHS: 1. Luke Capewell 2. Nathan Merritt 3. Colin Best 4. Beau Champion 5. Fetuli Talanoa 6. John Sutton 7. Chris Sandow 8. Luke Stuart 9. Isaac Luke 10. Roy Asotasi 11. Ben Lowe 12. Shannon McPherson 13. David Fa'alogo Interchange: 14. Craig Wing 15. Eddy Pettybourne 16. Jaiman Lowe 17. David Kidwell
Toyota Cup Results: Bulldogs 54 Rabbitohs 18
Tab Sportsbet Odds: Bulldogs $1.90 Rabbitohs $1.90
Good evening, welcome to the coverage from ANZ Stadium this Easter Monday.
It looks to be an enthralling clash between two teams near the top of the table.
The rain seems to have eased somewhat but conditions are still very slippery.
1 min: We're off and the kick-off's out on the full! Rabbitohs with the first attack.
2 min: Video ref is called into action early. Has Champion grounded it? Hard to tell.
2 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Good passing out to Champion who took the defense on and bursted over from 5m out. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 6-0
6 min: Fa'alogo almost makes the line break on the 4th tackle but spills it forward. Scrum Bulldogs 30m out from their line.
8 min: Souths put another kick dead and Bulldogs start a set on their 20m.
8 min: Hodgson spills the slippery pill. Scrum Rabbitohs near halfway.
9 min: Penalty Rabbitohs. Morris held him down for too long.
12 min: Scrum Bulldogs on halfway for a Rabbitohs knock-on.
13 min: The first real Bulldogs attack is thwarted by some strong pushing Rabbitohs defense, forcing a spill.
14 min: Sandow puts up a good bomb, El Masri drops it and is forced to put it dead. Bulldogs dropout.
15 min: Another Bulldogs dropout as Goodwin puts Sandow's grubber dead. Rabbitoh's chasers seemed to be a bit slow on the uptake.
16 min: A welcome reprieve for the Bulldogs, Ben Lowe knocks on, scrum Bulldogs on their 30m.
18 min: Penalty Bulldogs. Defenders were inside the 10. Bulldogs kick to touch near halfway.
21 min: Video Ref: Josh Morris chases a chip from Ennis and puts it down but very close to the dead-ball line.
21 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Handling errors from both sides left the Bulldogs hot on attack. Morris did extremely well to pluck the bouncing ball out of the air and thrust it down millimetres from the line. Benefit of the doubt is shown. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. 6 all
23 min: Penalty Bulldogs. The momentum has shifted their way, they start their set 30 out from the Rabbitohs line.
24 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Ryan seemed to casually stroll through a hole split apart by Ennis and dot down for the 3rd week in a row. A bit of argy-bargy ensues and Isaac Luke is put on report for his part in the action, Ryan maybe lucky to escape punishment. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 12-6
27 min: Scrum Rabbitohs for an Armit knock-on. 30 from the Bulldogs line.
29 min: The errors continue to flow, Sutton this time the culprit dropping a good pass. Scrum Bulldogs 20 from their line.
30 min: Sandow kicks it out on the full under pressure. Bulldogs start their set 40 out from the Rabbitohs line.
33 min: Scrum Rabbitohs 20 out from the Bulldogs line. Patten and Millard combine in a mix-up to lose the ball forward.
35 min: Armit breaks through but doesn't manage to get it to a speeding Patten. Merritt is forced to take the kick dead and the Rabbitohs will dropout.
37 min: Scrum Rabbitohs just in front of their line. This time it's Eastwood knocking on.
38 min: Sandow is hit hard while kicking. He stays down and waits for a penalty but it doesn't come.
40 min: Penalty Bulldogs and they will have one more tackle before halftime. Kimmorley trys unsuccessfully for a field goal from 48m out. A Capewell chip-kick is just about collected by Patten on the burst and that's halftime.
12-6 in favour of the Bulldogs at the break. Predictably there have been plenty of handling errors from both sides as the rain continues to fall. The Bulldogs' kicking game and control have been slightly superior to the Rabbitohs' so far but it looks like it could still go either way in the second half.
41 min: We're off again, the Bulldogs have the first possession this half.
43 min: Eastwood drops it again, this time in playing the ball, Rabbitohs scrum 30 out from their own line.
44 min: Penalty Rabbitohs for holding down too long, they start another set 30 out from the opposite end.
45 min: Scrum Bulldogs, Asotasi puts down a poor pass from Lowe.
47 min: Two bombs are put up by the Rabbitohs on the last tackle, the second of which is put down by Merritt and the Bulldogs start from in front of their own line.
48 min: 40-20! Roberts kicks it with ease and the Bulldogs are hot on attack.
49 min: Scrum Rabbitohs. Good pressure forces a rare mistake from Ennis.
52 min: Penalty Rabbitohs for a play-the-ball infringement. They start a set 30 out from The Bulldogs line.
53 min: The Rabbitohs attacking set ends with a poor kick from Sandow which is caught in-goal.
54 min: Penalty Bulldogs for another play-the-ball infringement, Lowe holding on too long. El Masri goes off for Utai so Ennis will kick for goal 40m out.
55 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs Ennis scrapes it over inside the right-hand post. Canterbury Bulldogs 14-6
58 min: Scrum Rabbitohs after a Utai knock-on 10m in front of his own line. Capewell is then dragged out of play on the 2nd tackle
60 min: Penalty Rabbitohs and they're back on attack. Sandow puts in an early grubber and Patten knocks it on. Again the Rabbitohs have a scrum 10m out from the Bulldogs' line.
62 min: Scrum Bulldogs. Fa'alogo knocks on and the Bulldogs get away again by forcing another mistake.
65 min: Sandow is called for a forward pass on the last tackle. Utai makes a break in the ensuing Bulldogs attack but loses the ball. They get it back straight away as the Rabbitohs spill it.
66 min: Video Ref: A rolling maul of players drops over the line and Michael Ennis comes up claiming a try.
66 min: NO TRY. Hodgson is penalised for pushing Ennis over the line.
68 min: Penalty Rabbitohs. Kimmorley's kick is charged down and the Bulldogs are penalised for holding on. Rabbitohs start 30m out from the Bulldogs' line.
70 min: Scrum Bulldogs 30m out on attack.
72 min: Utai makes a real mess of a bomb and is lucky not to concede a try. Scrum Rabbitohs 10m out on attack.
74 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Sutton puts in a perfectly executed grubber which Pettybourne gratefully collects to dot down near the posts. Conversion attempt by Issac Luke successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 14-12
78 min: Penalty Rabbitohs for a tackle in the air. Ennis made a good break down the left wing but couldn't go all the way. Kimmorley's chip on the last was easily taken by the defense.
80 min: Wing's last-ditch effort at a kick over the Bulldogs' heads rolls out and that's full-time.