Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
The Canterbury Bulldogs have beaten the Parramatta Eels 48-14 in a runaway performance at Telstra Stadium.
The early stages of the match went to plan as the two sides big packs tried to assert dominance over one another with neither coming out on top.
Predictions and the match were turned on their heads in the 14th minute when Willie Tonga found his way over the line for the Bulldogs. Shortly after Nathan Cayless was sin binned and by the time he made it back on to the field the Bulldogs had advanced to a 24 point lead.
Jonathan Thurston scored just 6 minutes into the second half and it looked as if records were about to be broken. Unfortunately the second half was to be a dour affair as both sides struggled to hold on to the ball.
The Eels scored two consolation tries late in the game through Vaealiki and Peterson but when Hutch Maiava went over late in the game for the Bulldogs, it summed up a tough night for Parramatta.
For the Bulldogs it?s been a positive start to their season and they?ve sent a clear message that they won?t be bogged down by off field controversies.
On the other hand, it doesn?t get any easier for Parramatta with the Broncos next week and a lot of work still to do to avoid a similar fate as last season.
Leagueunlimited Players of the match: 3 ? B Sherwin (Bulldogs) 2 ? J Thurston (Bulldogs) 1 ? SB Williams (Bulldogs)
Telstra Stadium Referee: Stephen Clark Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Scorers: BULLDOGS Tries: Thurston 2, Tonga, Anasta, Pattern, Williams, Asotasi, Maiava Goals: El Masri 8/8 EELS Tries: Grothe, Vaealiki, Peterson Goals: Burt 1/3, Morris 0/1
By the clock: 0 min: Kick-off! The second match of this double header is underway as two arch rivals do battle.
2nd min: NEWS - It?s a very sandy surface for this match, reminiscent of Suncorp Stadium last year. It will be heavy under foot for the players and hasn?t been helped by the Tigers v Sharks match.
5th min: NEWS - As was expected, it's been a very physical encounter in these opening minutes.
9th min: NEWS - The Dogs are starting to impose themselves on this match with some tough stuff up the middle and plenty of bite out wide.
11th min: MISSED PENALTY GOAL - Eels. The Bulldogs gave away a penalty for descent towards the ref and Parramatta chose to go for the shot at goal. Luke Burt hit the upright and Pattern regained possession for the Bulldogs.
15th min: SIN BIN - Nathan Cayless (Eels). After a break from the Bulldogs Nathan Cayless made a professional foul in holding down in the tackle. Stephen Clarke had no hesitation in giving him ten minutes in the bin. Wagon now takes over the captaincy duties while Cayless is off the field.
19th min: TRY - Bulldogs. Braith Anasta pushed off several players to dive across for a try. Hasem El Masri converts - Bulldogs 12-0.
21st min: TRY - Bulldogs. Sonny Bill Williams is having a blinder on debut. The young kiwi made his second break of the night and handed off to Pattern who went all the way to score. El Masri converts - Bulldogs 18-0.
24th min: NEWS - It's all one way traffic at present as the Bulldogs launch wave after wave of attack.
26th min: TRY - Bulldogs. Brent Sherwin chipped in behind the line and Thurston timed his run beautifully to score and make it look all too easy. El Masri converts - Bulldogs 24-0.
28th min: NEWS - The Eels have made 7 errors already in this game compared to just the 1 from the Bulldogs.
32nd min: TRY - Bulldogs. Sublime play from the Bulldogs. Brent Sherwin chipped, re-gathered and got the ball away to Sonny Bill Williams who scored in the corner. El Masri converts from the sideline - Bulldogs 30-0.
38th min: TRY - Bulldogs. Steve Price put Roy Asotasi into a hole who bet the fullback and touched down for the Bulldogs 6th try of the half. El Masri converts - Bulldogs 36-0.
40th min: HALF TIME - It's been an attacking blitz from the Bulldogs in this first half. Parramatta have had minimal possession mostly due to their poor handling and now look to only have pride to play for. Half time score - Bulldogs 36 Eels 0.
41st min: The second half is underway!
46th min: TRY - Bulldogs. Luke Burt lost the football, Thurston picked it up, threw a dummy and found his way over the line. El Masri converts - Bulldogs 42-0.
50th min: TRY - Eels. Finally the Eels have injected themselves into this match. Adam Dykes ran across field before kicking in behind the line and Eric Grothe ran onto the ball to score in the corner. John Morris fails to convert - Bulldogs 42-4.
53rd min: NEWS - Roy Asotasi of the Bulldogs has gone off injured with a sternum problem.
58th min: NEWS - It's just a matter of time before the Bulldogs strike again as the Eels struggle to hold on to the ball let alone get out of their own half.
62nd min: NEWS - The game is starting to get a little sloppy now as both sides tire.
67th min: NEWS - Braith Anasta has come from the field and gone straight to the dressing room, possibility of an injury.
70th min: NEWS - Parramatta have finally had their first line break of the match. It was a beauty as well as Dykes ran the ball on the 5th tackle and ran about 50 metres.
75th min: TRY - Eels. Adam Dykes made a great break out of dummy half, offloaded to Peterson who in turn got it away to Vaealiki who strolled in for a consolation try. Luke Burt converts - Bulldogs 42-10.
78th min: TRY - Eels. A mistake from Pattern allowed the Eels some rare possession in the Bulldogs 20 metre zone. They spread it out wide to Peterson who stretched over in the corner. Luke Burt fails to convert - Bulldogs 42-14.
80th min: TRY - Bulldogs. Pearson made a mistake from the kick-off, Hutch Maiava picked the ball up and ran ten metres to score. El Masri converts - Bulldogs 48-14.
FULL TIME - The Bulldogs have started the season off in style with amazing attacking play that we've come to expect in recent seasons. Parramatta were disappointing but if there is a positive for them it's that they won the second half 14-12. Full time score - Bulldogs 48 Eels 14