Bulldogs sneak home in Friday night thriller
AN unsuccessful Jamie Soward penalty goal attempt after full-time has handed the Canterbury Bulldogs a 16-14 win over St George Illawarra in front of 22,958 fans at ANZ Stadium tonight.
With the Bulldogs clinging to a two-point lead as the siren sounded, Josh Dugan chip-kicked for himself and was sandwiched in a tackle with Frank Pritchard before opposite number Ben Barba scooped up the ball and raced 70m.
Referees Jared Maxwell and Phil Haines referred the decision upstairs and after several looks the Dragons were awarded the penalty where the ball landed. With a chorus of boos echoing around the ground and projectiles being thrown from the stands, the nippy five-eighth couldn’t pilot the ball between the posts much to the delight of Bulldogs fans.
Three tries in seven minutes lit up an otherwise dull, grinding first 40 minutes between the two teams. After being held scoreless last week, the Dragons appeared content on getting through sets of six in possession and kicking to a corner to nullify the potency of Ben Barba.
Bulldogs centre Tim Lafai scored a double in the space of four minutes as the Bulldogs appeared to be in cruise control with a 12-0 lead.
His first try was questionable when a second-man play involving Michael Ennis, Joel Romelo and Ben Barba had a hint of obstruction about it, however it was allowed to continue and the home side had first points after 25 minutes. In the 29th minute Lafai was over again in the corner following a pin-point bomb from Romelo which was acrobatically batted back by winger Drury Low. Halfback Trent Hodkinson continued his golden run with the boot where he had only missed one of his previous 23 attempts to put Canterbury up by 12.
In the most controversial play of the first half, Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward was awarded an eight-point try after Dale Finucane spilt possession in front of his own posts. Matt Prior picked up the ball, throwing it between his legs into the arms of Soward who won the race to the corner. Ben Barba then came sliding in late with his knees and a possible eight-point try was awarded. Soward converted from the sideline before converting the penalty from in front of the posts as the Dragons went to the break trailing 12-8 despite being severely outplayed for most of the half.
Sam Perrett extended the Bulldogs lead to eight points five minutes into the second half and it appeared certain the home side would run away with the victory after centre Mitch Brown drew in Jason Nightingale which left Perrett a saloon passage to the tryline.
Canterbury couldn’t quite deliver the knockout blow and the Dragons hung in the contest and once Matt Prior crossed out wide in the 73rd minute, Red V fans dared to dream of a remarkable comeback.
With the clock showing four minutes remaining Soward launched a spiralling torpedo bomb which was knocked on by Drury Low but the Dragons couldn’t take advantage of their good field position. Once Nathan Fien’s kick intended for Josh Dugan was snapped up by Frank Pritchard the result looked a foregone conclusion until Pritchard was again involved following Dugan’s kick for himself.
Soward had the chance to take the match to golden point but his shot from 32m out, 10m in from touch drifted across the face of goal.
Next week the Bulldogs travel to Townsville while the Dragons travel up the F3 to clash with Wayne Bennett’s Knights on Saturday night.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16 St. George Illawarra Dragons 14
Venue: Stadium Australia
Halftime Score: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12-8
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - James Graham
2 points - Frank Pritchard
1 point - Josh Dugan
CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS (16)
Tries: Timoteo Lafai (2), Sam Perrett
Conversions: Trent Hodkinson (2/3)
ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (14)
Tries: Jamie Soward, Matt Prior
Conversions: Jamie Soward (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Jamie Soward (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Bulldogs: 1. Ben Barba 2. Drury Low 3. Mitch Brown 4. Tim Lafai 5. Sam Perrett 19. Joel Romelo 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Ennis (c) 10. Sam Kasiano 11. Frank Pritchard 12. Josh Jackson 13. Greg Eastwood
Interchange: 14. Dene Halatau 15. Tim Browne 16. James Graham 17. Dale Finucane 20. Martin Taupau
Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Chase Stanley 4. Matt Prior 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Jamie Soward 7. Nathan Fien 17. Jack Stockwell 8. Dan Hunt 9. Mitch Rein 10. Michael Weyman 11. Bronson Harrison 12. Ben Creagh (c) 13. Tyson Frizell
Interchange: 14. Cameron King 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Jack de Belin 19. Will Matthews
A shortened Round 12 kicks off tonight here at ANZ Stadium when the Bulldogs clash with the Dragons. The Bulldogs will be hoping to build on last week's defeat of the Broncos while the Dragons hope to bounce back from their 19-0 loss to the Panthers last Saturday night.
We are just awaiting confirmation of team news, with Joel Romelo rumoured to be replacing NSW representative Josh Reynolds at five-eighth for the Bulldogs.
TEAM CHANGES for the Dragons. Dan Hunt has been ruled out. Jack Stockwell takes his place in the starting lineup and Will Matthews comes onto the bench. As expected, Joel Romelo is the only change for the Bulldogs. He replaces Josh Reynolds at five-eighth. Kick-off scheduled for approximately 7.35pm.
Ben Creagh takes the Dragons out onto ANZ Stadium where they head to the northern end where they will receive the ball first. Canterbury running from right to left on your computer screen.
1 min: We're underway!
2 min: Kasiano and Tolman march the Dragons back down the field.
2 min: Hodkinson goes to the air but Vidot comes up with the catch. Dragons work the ball off their own line.
4 min: Dugan scoops up the loose ball after Low knocks on. Dragons head over halfway on tackle 4.
5 min: Vidot scores out wide for the Dragons but play is rightly brought back after Soward took the ball off Barba one-on-one and knocked on. Bulldogs scrum.
7 min: Soward kicks to the corner and Barba is tackled 5m from his own line.
9 min: The arm-wrestle continues as the Dragons go over halfway. Soward kicks to the corner.
10 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. Harrison ruled to have laid on Pritchard for too long attempting to slow the play-the-ball down.
11 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. Hand on the ball from the Dragons.
12 min: Great scrambling defence from the Dragons repels the Bulldogs before Ennis kicks over the touch in-goal line. 20m restart.
12 min: Nightingale knocks on after just the second tackle. Bulldogs back on the attack 30m from the Dragons line.
13 min: Kasiano pops the pass for Eastwood but he puts it down.
13 min: PENALTY Dragons. Dugan scooped up the loose ball and trying to get a quick play-the-ball is pushed back to the ground.
14 min: Stanley got away down the left side and popped the pass which was slightly behind Nightingale who left it behind.
15 min: Graham looks for the quick play-the-ball but the referees ruled a knock on. Dragons scrum.
17 min: The match continues to be played between the two 20m lines with neither side having a genuine try-scoring opportunity.
19 min: Bit of messy play sees the ball on the ground before the Dragons pick it up through Nightingale.
20 min: Chip-kick from Fien looking for Dugan almost comes off but Low reacts quickly for the Bulldogs.
21 min: Soward kicks to the corner and Barba is monstered by a three-man tackle.
22 min: Romelo grubbers over the sideline 15m from the Dragons line. Dragons scrum.
24 min: Offload from de Belin comes off Dugan's head and into the arms of Pritchard. Dogs on the attack.
24 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. Hand on the ball.
25 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Bulldogs try.
25 min: TRY CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Scored by Timoteo Lafai. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Lafai opens the scoring for the Bulldogs with a second-man play involving Barba, Ennis and Romelo puts him through some soft goal-line defence from the Dragons. Hodkinson adds the extras.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6-0
27 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. Ah Mau connects with Tolman's head with his shoulder. Penalty sufficient.
28 min: Rein knocks on at dummy half after Pritchard also knocked on. Bulldogs scrum.
29 min: TRY CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Scored by Timoteo Lafai. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Lafai has a double after some great play from Low! Romelo kicked across field for his winger who batted the ball back into the arms of his centre partner who gleefully crossed in the corner. Hodkinson adds the extras from the sideline.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12-0
33 min: Romelo caps off a solid set of six after points by kicking into touch 10m from the Dragons line. Dragons scrum.
35 min: PENALTY Dragons. Dugan draws the penalty after the Bulldogs hold down too long in the tackle.
37 min: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Jamie Soward. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
The Dragons have their first points of the night after Finucane loses the ball into Prior. Prior throws the ball out tunnel-ball style into the arms of Soward who won the race to the corner before Barba came in late with his knees. Soward adds the extras from the sideline.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12-6
37 min: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Penalty goal attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
Soward converts from in front of the posts to complete the eight-point try. Barba also placed on report for his part after the try was originally scored.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12-8
40 min: Good set from the Dragons after scoring points and the Dogs will have possession heading into half-time.
40 min: Questionable pass from Graham to Halatau is allowed to go.
40 min: Halftime at ANZ Stadium and the Bulldogs lead the Dragons 12-8.
40 min: Both teams back out on the field. Second stanza about to start.
41 min: Second half underway. Dogs in possession.
42 min: Ball comes free despite the tackle starting to look dangerous. Luckily for the Bulldogs the players involved let him go. Bulldogs scrum.
43 min: Loe crosses in the corner but the pass to him from Barba is forward. Dragons scrum.
45 min: Bulldogs throw the ball around and the pass from dummy half is ruled to have been knocked down by the Dragons. Bulldogs scrum.
46 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Bulldogs try.
46 min: TRY CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Scored by Sam Perrett. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson unsuccessful.
Perrett extends the Bulldogs lead after Mitch Brown got on the outside of his man before throwing a flick pass to Perrett who scores in the corner. Hodkinson hits the upright from the western touchline.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16-8
49 min: The Bulldogs look dangerous down the left side but Lafai knocks on after Nightingale jams in off his wing.
50 min: De Belin has been injured as he fought his way up field before Kasiano fell on his leg in an awkward looking tackle.
51 min: Bulldogs let Fien's bomb bounce before Lafai dives on the ball.
54 min: PENALTY Dragons. Barba knocks Soward's bomb on and Graham picks up the ball in an offside position.
55 min: Soward kicks for Vidot but it is way too big. Out on the full. Bulldogs scrum.
55 min: Ennis kicks out of dummy half and the ball goes dead. Dragons 20m restart.
57 min: Soward kicks for Dugan back towards the posts and the ball is knocked back and over the deadball line by Romelo. Bulldogs dropout.
59 min: Soward kicks again for Vidot who knocks on. Bulldogs changeover.
60 min: The Dragons try to go around the Bulldogs with Vidot's pass to Soward seeing the five-eighth go in touch. Bulldogs scrum.
62 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Bulldogs try.
62 min: No Try. Pritchard latched onto the kick from Hodkinson but Soward comes up with a trysaver and holds the big second-rower up. Dragons changeover.
63 min: PENALTY Dragons.
63 min: Good low tackle sees Stockwell put the ball down. Bulldogs with the ball.
65 min: Soward's kick is a great one and the chase is even better with Low thrown back into the in-goal. Bulldogs dropout.
66 min: Rein's pass to Weyman is ruled forward as the Dragons looked to build pressure. Bulldogs scrum.
69 min: PENALTY Dragons. Ennis offside from the second kick after Brown put boot to ball following Hodkinson's bomb.
69 min: Romelo knocks the ball into touch 3m from his own line. Dragons with a scrum and they will go on the attack. They need points now.
71 min: Maxwell rules Romelo was out when he touched the ball so the scrum goes to the Bulldogs.
71 min: Enterprising play from Fien who grubbers and finds Dugan who kicks for Nightingale but Low wins the race and bats the ball over the sideline. Dragons scrum.
73 min: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Matt Prior. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful.
Prior gives the Dragons a glimmer of hope when they throw the ball around and Soward basketball's the pass over the top. Soward adds the extras from out wide.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16-14
76 min: Soward's spiralling bomb is knocked on by Low. Dragons with six more.
77 min: Fien kicks into the in-goal and Low wins the race back to the ball and bats it dead. Bulldogs dropout.
79 min: Fien kicks on the fourth tackle and it's gleefully accepted by Pritchard.
80 min: 30 seconds to go. Dragons in possession.
80 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Bulldogs try.
80 min: PENALTY Dragons. Barba has his try taken off him and Soward has a chance to take us to golden point!
80 min: UNSUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Penalty goal attempt by Jamie Soward unsuccessful.
Soward misses the penalty on fulltime and the Bulldogs win!
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16-14
80 min: Fulltime at ANZ Stadium and the Bulldogs 16 have defeated the Dragons 14.