Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
19 hours ago
A tough battle in Melbourne for the Bulldogs, but they come away with the win over the Storm by 26-12.
The game was destined to be a tough encounter at Olympic Park in Melbourne, and that it was.
With the score at half time only 8-4 in favour of the Bulldogs, the scene was set for a battle in the second half.
With the Storm scoring first to take a narrow lead, the turning point for the Bulldogs was when Reardon was sin binned in the 61st minute.
As so often happens, when down to 12 men, the disadvantaged side lifts, and suddenly the Bulldogs went from 2 points down to score a try and take the lead.
Twelve more unanswered points to the Bulldogs and the difference in the score is out to fourteen, with no chance of a Melbourne victory.
A disappointing last twenty minutes for the Storm who until then, were well in the match and capable of winning. Their defence had been outstanding, as had the Bulldogs, but in the end fatigue was their downfall.
Well done to the Bulldogs, the win was a tough but satisfying one.
Storm 12 Tries: Slater Goals: Orford (4/4)
Bulldogs 26 Tries: Reardon, Vagana 2, Sherwin Goals: El Masri (5/5)
Sunday 22 June 2003 3:00 PM Olympic Park Melbourne Referee: Paul Simpkins
Leagueunlimted players of the match:
3 - M O'Meley (Bulldogs) 2 - B Sherwin (Bulldogs) 1 - M Orford (Storm)
By the clock:
0 min: We have kick off!
2nd min: TRY - Reardon for Bulldogs. A left foot kick from Sherwin after an early penalty gives the Bulldogs excellent field position. Reardon only has the post to argue with, and succeeds. El Masri from 11 metres out has no trouble adding the extra 2 points. Bulldogs 6-0
8th min: NEWS - The Storm has settled down and come close to scoring. Excellent scrambling defence by the Bulldogs keeps them from doing so
11th min: PENALTY GOAL - Orford for Storm. A lovely break by Kidwell close to his line, sets up play close to try line. Ref plays advantage for the Bulldogs players inside the 10 metres, and Orford choses to kick the goal. Bulldogs 6-2
15th min: NEWS - Hill (Storm) off the field with a shoulder injury. Not good after only his 3rd match back after shoulder reconstruction. Luckily it's the opposite shoulder to his operation, a partial dislocation, and not as serious as first feared, tho Hill won't take any further part in this match .
18th min: NEWS - Bai bombs a pass from under his goal, and Patten picks it up at pace. Unfortunately his foot just touches the sideline, relief for the Storm. Bulldogs 6-2
21st min: NEWS - A 40/20 made to look easy by Anasta sets up the Bulldogs 15 metres out. Good defence stops any scoring
30th min: NEWS - A lot of play close to the line for both sides, just falling down at the last plays. Bulldogs still hold the lead, 6-2
32nd min: PENALTY GOAL - Orford for Storm. Patten (Bulldogs) penalised for a high shot on Turner. Orford kicks the goal from 29 metres in front. Bulldogs 6-4
35th min: NEWS - Slater (Storm) playing at fullback comes up with a try saving tackle, along with Hoffman, to push El Masri over the sideline in goal. Slater hurt his hip in the tackle
40th min: PENALTY GOAL - El Masri for Bulldogs. Sherwin held back by Kearney after the fifth tackle kick. El Masri has no trouble from right in front. Bulldogs 8-4
HALF TIME: The game could go either way, a great battle.
42nd min: TRY - Slater for Storm. Kearney gets a great offload to a flying Slater close to the Bulldogs tryline. Slater obviously recovered from his earlier injury, runs 80 metres unopposed to score the try. Orford from out in front, gets the conversion. Storm hit the lead, 10-8
47th min: NEWS - El Masri (Bullddogs) very close to scoring out wide but the Storm defence holds true, and El Masri's foot is just on the touch line.
56th min: NEWS - End to end stuff. Orford (Storm) puts a little chip thru on the 4th tackle for the speedster Slater. Unlucky bounce but Patten gathers and knocks on. Storms best chance lately, Reynoldson knocks on in the next play, chance over,but they still have the lead 10-8
61st min: SIN BIN: Reardon (Bulldogs) sinbinned for a professional foul when he took out Slater after a little kick thru by Orford
62nd min: PENALTY GOAL - Orford for Storm. Following Reardon's offence, an easy kick for Orford from out in front. Storm 12-8
65th min: TRY - Vagana for Bulldogs. As quite often happens, the team down to 12 men score. Offord made a mistake in his own half, handing possession over 45 metres out. Good go forward by the Bulldogs to get Nigel across out wide for his 50th try for the Bulldogs. El Masri from the sideline is as cool as a cucumber, and slots it over. Bulldogs 14-12
68th min: NEWS - Utai (Bulldogs) leaving the field after a head clash in a tackle
70th min: NEWS - Bulldogs very close to scoring again with 12 men. Inspirational stuff by the Bulldogs with the forwards leading the way. The Storm defence holding, but getting tired
74th min: TRY - Vagana for Bulldogs. Great go forward by the Bulldogs. O'Meley pumped makes metres to get close to the line. Sherwin sees Vagana looming and puts the little chip through, perfectly timed for Vagana. El Masri adds the extra two points from 11 metres in from touch. Bulldogs 20-12
80th min: TRY - Sherwin for Bulldogs. An intercept 32 metres out from his line, and Sherwin goes in unopposed. A deflated Storm side could only look on. El Masri adds the 2 points from right out in front. Bulldogs 26-12
FULL TIME: Amazing how quickly a game can change. The sin binning of Reardon the turning point for the Bulldogs