FIVE days after being embarrassed by Newcastle, Canterbury bounced back with a dour 24-14 victory over Brisbane in front of 11,344 fans at ANZ Stadium tonight.
The four-tries-to-three win followed a regular pattern in the NRL this season with teams returning home the following week after disappointments on the road with much improved performances and again puts the Bulldogs on the cusp of the Telstra Premiership top eight.
Fullback Ben Barba's performance prompted coach Des Hasler to again back his fullback for an Origin call-up. "He wouldn't be out of place and wouldn't let anybody down in a Maroon jersey," he told Triple M.
It only took 7 minutes for Ben Barba to put his stamp on the game after he came up with a brilliant try-saving, one-on-one tackle on Broncos winger Lachlan Maranta. The winger attempted to run over the top of the fullback who stood his ground and affected the tackle with the help of several teammates.
Barba was again involved minutes later when he opened the scoring for the home side. As the ball was shifted to the left hand side, the Broncos defence appeared to have the numbers before Barba’s kick rebounded off the hands and legs of Justin Hodges and back into his arms. Broncos fullback Corey Norman tried to hold him up but couldn’t do so and after Hodkinson converted from beside the posts the ‘Dogs held a 6-0 advantage.
In the 32nd minute Barba was once again attempting to save tries in the south-eastern corner of ANZ Stadium after the Broncos moved the ball to their left hand side after a second-man play from Peter Wallace put Norman on the outside of his man. Norman delivered the pass to Hoffman who could have slid in in the corner, but he attempted to run over the top of Barba who tried his best along with Michael Ennis to prevent the try. They were both unsuccessful and after Corey Parker missed from the sideline, the Bulldogs took a two-point advantage to the sheds.
Just six minutes into the second half, Bulldogs prop Sam Kasiano bulldozed his way over the line following five-eighth Josh Reynolds’ decision to run the ball on the last. The crafty playmaker passed out of dummy half onto a rampaging Kasiano who was never going to be stopped by Brisbane’s Andrew McCullough.
10 minutes later, Kasiano’s prop forward partner Aiden Tolman also put his name on the scoresheet and it was a carbon-copy of the previous try. Hooker Michael Ennis decided to run the ball on the last, delivering a perfectly timed pass to Tolman after engaging both Brisbane markers on their own line.
Promising Bronco Jordan Kahu gave his side hope in the 67th minute by showing his athletic ability after out-leaping Sam Perrett in the contest following Corey Norman’s weighted chip into the corner. Following the Kahu try the Broncos appeared to have all the momentum and spent the next five to 10 minutes camped on the Bulldogs line but unable to make any inroads following desperate defence.
Frank Pritchard sealed the win for the Bulldogs in the 75th minute and Brisbane winger Lachlan Maranta scored a consolation try in the 80th minute despite a fracas occurring in back play which took out half the players on the field.
Next week the Bulldogs host the Dragons on Friday night while the Broncos host the Warriors on Monday night with all Origin players unavailable for their respective clubs.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24 Brisbane Broncos 14
Venue: Stadium Australia
Halftime Score: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6-4
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Frank Pritchard
2 points - Aiden Tolman
1 point - Ben Barba
CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS (24)
Tries: Ben Barba, Sam Kasiano, Aiden Tolman, Frank Pritchard
Conversions: Trent Hodkinson (4/4)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (14)
Tries: Josh Hoffman, Jordan Kahu, Lachlan Maranta
Conversions: Corey Parker (1/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Interchange: 14. Dene Halatau 16. James Graham 17. Dale Finucane 21. Tim Browne
Broncos: 1. Corey Norman 2. Josh Hoffman 3. Jordan Kahu 4. Justin Hodges 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Ben Hunt 7. Peter Wallace 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Sam Thaiday (c) 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker
Interchange: 14. Jake Granville 15. Scott Anderson 16. David Hala 17. Jarrod Wallace
Scored by Ben Barba. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Barba opens the scoring for the Bulldogs! Nothing looked like it was happening so the fullback put a kick in which rebounded off Hodges back into his arms before he muscled his way into the in-goal. Hodkinson adds the extras from beside the posts.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6-0
Scored by Josh Hoffman. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker unsuccessful.
Hoffman scores for the Broncos in the left corner. Second man play put Norman on the outside of his man before he delivered the pass to Hoffman. Barba and Ennis did their best to hold him up but he eventually forced the ball on his second attempt. Parker can't add the extras from out wide.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6-4
Scored by Sam Kasiano. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Kasiano charges over from close range. Reynolds ran the ball on the last, found his big front rower who was never going to be stopped by McCullough. Hodkinson adds the extras from beside the posts to extend the lead past a converted try.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12-4
Scored by Aiden Tolman. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Tolman crashes over next to the posts and extends the lead even further for the home side. Ennis engaged the markers before delivering a perfect pass onto the front-rowers chest. Hodkinson adds the extras from alongside the posts.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 18-4
Scored by Jordan Kahu. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker unsuccessful.
Kahu comes up with an amazing play by outleaping Perrett before planting the ball in the corner after a great Corey Norman kick. Parker again misses from out wide.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 18-8
Scored by Frank Pritchard. Conversion attempt by Trent Hodkinson successful.
Pritchard gets a well-deserved try! Hodkinson grubbered in behind the defence before Hunt fumbled the ball and Pritchard raked the ball out of his possession perhaps in a forward motion but the referees in the box ruled otherwise. Hodkinson again adds the extras.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24-8
Scored by Lachlan Maranta. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.
Maranta scores a consolation try with some quality quick hands despite a disagreement in back play. With half the players exchanging pleasantries, play was allowed to continue. Parker adds the extras from out wide.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24-14