Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
46 hours ago
Canterbury Bulldogs 22 v New Zealand Warriors 18
at Telstra Stadium
Referees: Shayne Hayne
Half time: Warriors 18-12
An 83rd minute try to Mark O?Meley has given the Bulldogs a thrilling 22-18 extra time win over the Warriors. It was a win made all the more impressive given the Bulldogs trailed 16-0 after only 17 minutes.
The Warriors started the match with the lions share of possession and territory, and opened the scoring with a try to centre Simon Mannering in the 9th minute after Manu Vatuvei flew above Hazem El Masri to knock a kick down for Mannering to dive on.
The lead was extended three minutes later when Vatuvei again out-jumped El Masri and passed on the inside to Wairangi Koopu who scored near the posts and the Warriors were up 12-0.
In the 17th minute the Warriors showed more urgency than the Bulldogs, getting to dummy half before Bulldogs defenders could, then rookie halfback Grant Rovelli made a break and passed to Vatuvei who scored out wide. The conversion from Tony Martin hit the posts, and it was 16-0.
Willie Mason came on for the Bulldogs, and it all changed. Firstly Ben Roberts made a break, and on the next play the ball was spun to Cameron Phelps who scored in the corner and got the Bulldogs underway.
In the 28th minute, eight minutes after the first Bulldogs try Willie Mason set up Andrew Ryan to score. Seven minutes before half time a penalty goal put the Warriors up 18-12, and that was how the score remained for half time.
Both teams played to a standstill in the second half. Willie Tonga scored in the 45th minute and El Masri coolly slotted the conversion to leave the match tied up at 18-all. The Warriors then managed to save a try when they forced Cameron Phelps into touch only five metres out from the line.
The Bulldogs spent a lot of the second half on defence, and at times held the Warriors out for several repeat sets. The Warriors really ran out of steam in the final ten minutes, and were unable to get into field goal range. Daniel Holdsworth had three field goal attempts ? the best of which was charged down by Steve Price.
He also missed two wide right, including one right on the end of normal time. In extra time, the Warriors spread the ball wide to Mannering who was nearly forced into touch. The ball was batted by the Warriors back infield to El Masri who took off, putting the Bulldogs into good field position.
Replays suggested that the ball was in touch however. On the last play of the set, Bulldogs halfback Ben Roberts was put under pressure by the Warriors defenders, he got away from them and threw a fantastic pass to O?Meley who scored under the posts for the win.
It was a fantastic game, and it should rightfully be argued that a draw ought to have been a just result from the match. The result makes it just that little bit harder for the Warriors to qualify for a finals berth, although they will be encouraged by holding one of the form teams of the competition to an 80 minute draw.
The Warriors host the resurgent Eels at Ericsson Stadium next week, while the Bulldogs travel to Kogarah to face the Dragons on Friday night.
Canterbury Bulldogs: 22
Tries: Mark O'Meley, Cameron Phelps, Andrew Ryan, Willie Tonga
Goals: Hazem El Masri 3/3
New Zealand Warriors: 18
Tries: Wairangi Koopu, Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei
Goals: Tony Martin 3/4
Halftime: Warriors 18-12
By the Clock:
Good afternoon from a sunny Telstra Stadium. Today we have the Bulldogs vs the Warriors.
The Bulldogs are looking to cement their Top 4 place, while the Warriors are looking to do the highly unlikely by making the Top 8. The sides have already met once this year, the Bulldogs prevailing 30-16 in Round 7 at Ericsson Stadium.
For the Warriors, Luck will start for Guttenbiel and Koopu will start for Faumunia. On the Bulldogs side of the fence, Willie Mason will start off the bench. Hughes is back from injury and replace McIlwain. El Masrio has passed his fitness test and will play. Emelia in the centres, Sonny Bill will be in the second row. Armit and Sherwin are predicatably out.
The teams have taken to the field, and we are ready to go.
1 min: The Bulldogs kick off on a patchy Telstra Stadium surface!
3 min: The Warriors start with 4 very good tackles before a Sonny Bill break gets the Dogs to halfway.
4 min: Both teams make some mistakes within a few seconds of each other.
4 min: The Warriors force a drop out.
6 min: The Warriors get a scrum 10 out from Grimaldi making an error tidying up a kick.
6 min: Luck knocks on from a very flat pass.
8 min: The Warriors get a penalty and go onto attack again.
9 min: Video ref for a Warriors try...
9 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors kick across field to Vatuvei, he knocks it down to Mannering who gets the ball down out wide. Martin converts.
11 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Rovelli kicks high, Vatuvei comes down with the ball and offloads to Koopu who runs away from defenders to score next to the posts. Martin converts.
14 min: Warriors making plenty of metres and are containing the Bulldogs at the moment.
17 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Last tackle, Fein throws a great pass to Rovelli who goes straight through, he passes wide to Vatuvei who scores out wide. Martin hits the posts.
20 min: The Bulldogs get a relieving penalty for interference in the play the ball.
21 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
The Bulldogs first real attacking chance, Roberts makes a bust on tackle four. They spread the ball wide to Phelps who scores in the corner. El Masri converts.
24 min: Now the Bulldogs are making plenty of metres. Certainly a momentum shift.
27 min: Warriors make an error only 10 out from their own line.
28 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
The Bulldogs second attacking chance has Mason throwing a great ball to Ryan who scores. El Masri converts.
30 min: The Bulldogs making some big hits in defence.
32 min: The Bulldogs kick wide, and come down with it, they make some offloads but Sonny knocks on before dotting the ball down out wide.
33 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors make a break, on the next tackle Mason is penalised for being offside. Martin slots the goal from in front.
35 min: Patten takes forever to pick a grubber up, the Warriors chase is good and the Warriors get a drop out.
37 min: Anderson knocks on when the Warriors are hot on attack - it didn't look to go forward though.
38 min: Hohaia puts in a poor kick on the second tackle that goes touch in goal.
40 min: Webb returns a kick from the ingoal to 30 metres out. Warriors get a penalty.
40 min: The Warriors put up a bomb to Vatuvei who can't hold it, and we go to halftime.
The Warriors started very well, but the expected Bulldogs comeback came, and that gives us the 18-12 score. The Warriors are troubling the Bulldogs when they spread the ball wide, and the Bulldogs came good when Mason came on.
Possession: Warriors 59/41%
Completions: Warriors 17/21, Bulldogs 12/15
Tackles/Missed: Warriors 127/12, Bulldogs 161/16
Offloads: Warriors 12-4
Errors: Warriors 5-4
Very enjoyable match so far.
We're back on the field and ready to go!
42 min: The Bulldogs make an early error and the Warriors force a line drop out.
43 min: Video ref for an unlikely Warriors try..
43 min: NO TRY - Warriors
Rovelli grubbers and Martin is oddly ruled to have knocked on.
44 min: The Bulldogs get another relieving penalty and go on attack.
45 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
The Bulldogs spread the ball wide, and Tonga scores after escaping a tackle. El Masri converts from out wide. All too easy.
48 min: Guttenbiel gets the ball stripped by Sonny Bill, but he propels it forward.
49 min: Warriors knock on first play off the scrum.
50 min: The Bulldogs spread the ball and somehow the Warriors force Phelps into touch.
51 min: Rovelli knocks on after a poor pass from dummy half, Warriors putting themselves under pressure.
52 min: El Masri puts the kick across field and Vatuvei takes it in the ingoal. Warriors really fading.
53 min: Warriors fail to complete again, as Mannering throws a forward pass. 2/6 completions in this half.
56 min: Warriors put in a good set and find touch 5 out from the Bulldogs line.
57 min: Hughes tries to milk a penalty, but he loses the ball in doing so.
59 min: The Warriors spin the ball on the last but Mannering can't hold onto the low pass.
60 min: The Warriors are penalised for a lifting tackle.
61 min: Warriors hold out a Bulldogs attacking set.
64 min: Ah Van returns a bomb 25 metres.
66 min: Poor attacking kicks are hurting both sides right now.
67 min: Warriors pick up another line drop out.
69 min: Phelps is ruled to have played at an Ah Van grubber that rebounded into touch.
70 min: Ropati knocks on, and the Bulldogs hold on for three sets.
73 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs
Holdsworth looks for a field goal an Price charges it down, and the Warriors come up with possession.
74 min: Warriors beginning to fall off tackles.
75 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs
Holdsworth attempts another field goal, this time from long range, but it misses wide right.
76 min: Warriors really struggling to make enough metres to get into field goal range.
77 min: Warriors wrap the Bulldogs up on the last tackle.
80 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs
Holdsworth misses wide right again!
Are you ready for bonus football? We're going to extra time!
The Warriors are looking very tired, a safe bet is on the Bulldogs getting away with this one.
80 min: The Warriors start the first period of extra time!
82 min: Warriors break down the sideline, a wild pass goes to El Masri
83 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
The Warriors rush up on Roberts on the last, he gets away and offloads to O'Meley who wins the game with a try under the posts.
The Bulldogs win a thrilling game.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Willie Mason (Bulldogs)
2 - Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs)
1 - Steve Price (Warriors)