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The Canterbury Bulldogs remain undefeated this season after another impressive win, this time over a sloppy Sydney Roosters by 24-20 at ANZ Stadium.
Despite the close nature of the scoreline, the Bulldogs held the upper hand for the majority of the contest - the Roosters only gained ascendency midway through the first half when they piled on three successive tries.
The highlight for Canterbury was undoubtedly their support play, with speedy fullback Ben Barba finishing off some well engineered breaks.
LeagueUnlimited's Man of the Match went to playmaker Trent Hodkinson, who played a controlling hand from halfback. Interchange forward Corey Payne was the surprise standout thanks to a number of Arthur Beetson-like offloads.
For the second week in a row, the Roosters were a shadow of late last season's form and were again ill-disciplined.
In injury news, Sydney's Sam Perrett was forced from the field with an expected broken ankle, while Bulldog David Stagg only played one quarter of the match after suffering a head knock in the first half. Barba also finished the match clutching at his forearm.
However, the Roosters managed to rebound when Todd Carney snuck over for a soft try out wide. They then hopped to a 14-12 lead after four-pointers to centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Jake Friend from kicks.
But the Bulldogs had the last laugh in frenetic first half thanks to a Payne pass and Barba bust on the stroke of halftime.
The home team kicked ahead to 20-14 when Bryson Goodwin landed a penalty in
the 46th minute. And that lead was stretched by a further four points when
Barba finished a great team movement sparked by a dummy from Hodkinson.
The tit-for-tat nature of the match saw Sydney back in contention after Kenny-Dowall slid past his opposite man. However, despite the try, the Roosters never really mounted a significant challenge in the final 15 minutes with Canterbury holding on for their third straight victory.
Canterbury Bulldogs 24 defeated Sydney Roosters 20
National Rugby League - Round 3 - Sunday March 27, 2011 2:00pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Ashley Klein and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: David Abood and Adam Reid
Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 18 Sydney Roosters 14
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS (24)
Tries: Ben Barba (2), Jamal Idris, Michael Ennis
Conversions: Bryson Goodwin (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Bryson Goodwin (1/1)
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (20)
Tries: Todd Carney, Shaun Kenny-Dowall (2), Jake Friend
Conversions: Braith Anasta (2/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to ANZ Stadium! Today we have Sydney up against Canterbury in what should be a close contest. The Roosters were ordinary last weekend but will be focused on rebounding in style. However, the Bulldogs present a tough challenge - they have yet to lose this season.
U20s went Sydney's way, 22-20.
A few switches for both teams..
Bulldogs: Frank Pritchard and Mickey Paea start with Sam Kasiano and Jake Foster dropping back to the bench.
Roosters: Frank-Paul Nuuausala starts in the second row in place of Mitch Aubusson.
For what it's worth my prediction is Sydney by 1-12.
1 min: Kick off! Bulldogs to run right to left wearing bright yellow socks to support their charity Camp Quality.
2 min: Mickey Paea pushes an offload for the Bulldogs but it's pounced on by Mitchell Pearce - sloppy start.
4 min: Good footy all round - Hodkinson grubbers, it's well read by Minichiello in cover but he's smashed back into the ingoal by Jamal Idris.
7 min: Solid start from both sides, plenty of ball movement and spark but the defence is equal to the task so far.
9 min: TRY
The Bulldogs go 70 metres to score! Pritchard puts Andrew Ryan through a gap up the middle, he finds Barba who is run down but he gets the pass on to Michael Ennis under the posts. Great support play. Bryson Goodwin converts.
Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0
11 min: And now the Roosters are offside from the kick off. Such an elementary error puts Canterbury back on the attack.
13 min: Video referee - possible Bulldogs try..
13 min: TRY
Jamal Idris leaps above two Roosters to latch onto a bomb from Trent Hodkinson. Canterbury have exploded out of the blocks this afternoon! Goodwin converts.
Canterbury Bulldogs 12-0
16 min: Braith Anasta milks a penalty with a nice dive, giving Sydney their first real offensive opportunity.
16 min: And now some push and shove. Not surprisingly it's Michael Ennis baiting Martin Kennedy..
18 min: TRY
Sydney hit back with quite a soft try.. Braith Anasta ducks under a poor attempt from Jamal Idris and then basketball passes it over the top to Todd Carney who dives over in the corner. Anasta converts from the sideline.
Canterbury Bulldogs 12-6
24 min: Sydney run it on the last and Minichiello is hit around line a pinball before being finished off by Frank Pritchard.
26 min: The Roosters now forced to work it off their own lime - after such a blistering Canterbury start, the momentum is starting to even out.
29 min: A but more aggro between the two teams, this time Myles resents and extra pat on the head from Sam Kasiano.
30 min: Joseph Leilua breaks the line for Sydney but Idris jumps on his back and shuts the play down.
31 min: Video referee - possible Roosters try..
31 min: TRY
Shaun Kenny-Dowal grubbers close to the line, the ball bounces off the legs of Bryson Goodwin and Kenny-Dowal simply lands on the ricochet to score. Anasta fails to convert.
Canterbury Bulldogs 12-10
34 min: Video referee - possible Roosters try..
34 min: TRY
The contest for a bomb sees the Bulldogs knock on, Jake Friend picks up the scraps for Sydney drifts to the blindside and burrows over. Anasta fails to convert.
Sydney Roosters 14-12
36 min: Ben Barba is ragdolled to the ground and loses the ball on a kick return.. this could get ugly for Canterbury just before the break.
38 min: Roosters' Carney lets the opposition off the hook with a poorly timed pass behind centre Kane Linnett who drops it.
40 min: TRY
Try against the run of play there! Ben Barba bursts onto a great short offload from Corey Payne, who stood in an ineffective tackle. Goodwin converts.
Canterbury Bulldogs 18-14
Halftime: Barba's try on the stroke of halftime tilts the ledger in the 'Dogs favour but it was a half of two halves. Bulldogs put on two quick tries before Sydney struck back with three in a row. Still anyone's game, there's should be plenty more four-pointers on offer.
41 min: Alrighty second half underway, one senses many more tries..
42 min: And by the way, David Stagg left the field with injury in the first half - it appeared to be a head knock of some sort.
44 min: Corey Payne with another short offload! He's on fire! Hodkinson capitalises but he's run down.
46 min: PENALTY GOAL
Bulldogs PENALTY GOAL
Aubusson tackles Ben Barba without possession and Bryson Goodwin adds another two points.
Canterbury Bulldogs 20-14
49 min: Video referee - possible Roosters try..
49 min: NO TRY! Joseph Leilua is held up in an amazing tackle from Trent Hodkinson! He just got his hand under the ball and then rolled the big winger on his back.
52 min: TRY
Another great team try for Canterbury! Hodkinson dummies and slices through, finds Payne in support, who falls but manages to flick it up to Barba for his double. Goodwin fails to convert.
Canterbury Bulldogs 24-14
56 min: Poor discipline from Sydney as they give away a penalty. Similar start to the second as in the first.. can the Roosters hit back in the next 20 minutes?
59 min: Jason Ryles is pinged for grabbing Idris' hair (to be fair it's the only way to tackle him these days) and then marched 10 metres for back chat.
61 min: And the rain is pelting down here!
63 min: Bulldogs' Jake Foster drops it in the play the ball, inviting the Roosters to attack.
63 min: TRY
Could feel it coming! The Roosters swing it wide and Shaun Kenny-Dowall slides past on the outside of his man to score. Anasta converts from wide out - that was an important two points.
Canterbury Bulldogs 24-20
68 min: Jason Ryles drops it cold, Bulldogs get the scrum feed on the 40m line in the Roosters half.
70 min: Sam Perrett in trouble for Sydney clutching at his lower leg. He'll hobble off with the assistance of two trainers, it doesn't look good. And the Roosters have used all their interchanges, so 12 men it is for the next 10 minutes.
72 min: Ben Barba looks in pain now holding his right shoulder - he's staying on the field though.
74 min: Well the injuries are overshadowing the fact that we have a very tight finish on our hands with under six minutes left.
75 min: Suspected broken ankle for Sam Perrett.
76 min: Sydney force a repeat set and get another chance attacking the line..
77 min: It falls to pieces for the Roosters with a fifth tackle knockon.
78 min: Hodkinson finds touch and the Roosters are out on their feet, they stumble their way to the scrum.
80 min: Sydney throw it around like headless chooks and Linnett knocks on, should be game over..
80 min: Fulltime: A deserved win to the Bulldogs this afternoon, they were the better team for the majority of the contest. And they're now undefeated after the opening three weeks of NRL action.