A 34,322 strong ANZ Stadium crowd came out to see the much anticipated clash between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the St George Dragons, where Dragons took what was truly a game of two halves, 15 points to 10.
The defending premiers showed why they were sole competition front runners with a dominant first half performance against a fellow top four side. The first forty saw the Dragons dominate all facets of play despite the Bulldogs putting on a solid performance.
The Dragons put on their first points in the 9th minute with a penalty goal scored by Soward. From there Dragons never fell behind on the scoreboard.
Soward's boot continued to threaten the scoreboard and laid on a try in the twentieth minute, when his cross field kick was collected by Nightingale who got it on to Scott who handed an offload to Prior to score, Soward's boot put on some points with the conversion.
In the 27th minute it was Soward's hand which laid on some pints with a long pass to Boyd who got it on to Cooper to score. Soward's boot put on some more points with the conversion. To prove its versatility it put on a field goal as well in the 40th minute to take the Dragons into the interval up 15 - 0.
The second half saw a stunning turn of events after Keating broke through the Dragons defence in the early stages of the second 40 after taking an offload from Payne. Keating had Lett in support and put him in to score the Bulldogs's first points of the match, which shocked the Dragons and exposed some weakness in the seemingly perfect Dragons defence.
From there Bulldogs looked very threatening, looking to attack the line with each play, the Dragons' defence looked shell-shocked by the defiance shown and it was just a matter of time before Bulldogs laid on some more points. Hodkinson laid on a try in the 59th minute off the boot to Idris who flew high to get it on to Turner who gave it back to Hodkinson to score between the posts. Turner converted and the 15 - 10 score line woke up the sleeping Dragons, who refused to give any more away.
Soward had a few field goal attempts waved away but defence was strong and there wasn't to be any more points in the game. Dragons came out victorious, taking the game 15 points to ten.
Canterbury Bulldogs 10 were defeated by St George Illawarra Dragons 15
National Rugby League - Round 10 - Friday May 13, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Ben Cummins and Tony De Las Heras
Video Referee: Tim Mander
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Steve Carrall
Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 0 St George Illawarra Dragons 15
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - David Stagg
2 Points - Jamie Soward (2 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal, 1 Field Goal)
1 Point - Trent Hodkinson (1 Try)
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS (10)
Tries: Michael Lett, Trent Hodkinson
Conversions: Steve Turner (1/2)
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (15)
Tries: Matt Cooper, Matt Prior
Field Goals: Jamie Soward (1/3)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Jamie Soward (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening and welcome to a very cold ANZ Stadium for this much anticipated clash between the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs and the Saint George Illawarra Dragons. Extra meaning added to this games with players prom both sides vying for State of Origin spots, with the Blues to name their side on Sunday and the Maroons theirs on Tuesday.
Bulldogs took out the Toyota Cup match 16-14.
TEAM NEWS: Superficial changes all round Bulldogs with the one change Micky Paea will drop to the bench and Greg Eastwood will get a start. For the Dragons, Kyle Stanley will drop to the bench, Beau Scott will move into the centres and Cuthbertson will take the run on spot in the back row.
1 min: Steve Turner kicks of for the Bulldogs and we are underway.
1 min: Dragons start well, completing their first set perfectly with Soward finding some grass with the boot.
2 min: Equally good set from the Dogs, Hodkinson finding some grass also.
3 min: Good metres made by the Dragons in the set, but no Dragons contest Soward's boot, making it an easy take for Barba.
4 min: Bulldogs get through their tackles easily.
5 min: Both teams doing well with ball in hand, Dragons winning the field position, getting a few attacking kicks in.
5 min: Barba in a contest with goal posts for Sowards's boot, collects it and unloads.
6 min: Bulldogs return serve, but can't make it past the 50.
7 min: A few half breaks from the Dragons, Dogs tackling well to keep them out.
7 min: A couple of Dragons hands lose the ball backwards before Idris punces on it, but the touch judge rules him to have knocked on, great opportunity for the Dragons.
8 min: PENALTY to the Dragons, against Pritchard for hands on the ball after the tackle had been completed.
9 min: PENALTY GOAL
Naturally, Dragons take the two and Soward gets the points.
St George Illawarra Dragons 2-0
11 min: Decent set from the Dragons before Cooper spills it forward.
12 min: Scrum penalty goes to the Bulldogs, for Dragons breaking early and Dragons will get heir firs chance deep in Dragons' territory.
VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Bulldogs TRY.
13 min: NO TRY! PENALTY against Barba for a double movement.
14 min: Dragons threatening, nice boot from Soward fools everyone before Barba picks it up on the ounce.
15 min: Barba loses it and Dragons get a scrum.
15 min: Soward puts on a ship on the firsy, Ennis reads and takes it beautifully.
16 min: Dogs starting to go up a gear now.
17 min: Dragons continuing to threaten, high bomb from Soward, no one can take it cleanly, Dragons get hands to ball before Boyd puts a little kick in, Turner collects it in goal before he is collected n goal for a line drop out.
19 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Dragons TRY.
21 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons! Great boot from Soward, taken by Nightingale who got it on to Beau Scott, who pulled off a tremendous offload putting it in the hands of Prior to score. Soward from the sideline puts in a beautiful boot to get the extras.
St George Illawarra Dragons 8-0
22 min: Dragons starting to look to have all the energy, Bulldogs still fighting though.
23 min: A Bulldog boot kicks it into touch for a little breather before the Dragons scrum about 20 out from their line.
24 min: Dragons appear to be just coasting along now, with their 8 point lead.
25 min: Bulldogs get into some good field position before Keating plugs it dead in goal for a Dragons 20 metre tap.
28 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons! Soward with a long ball to Boyd at second receiver finds Cooper who makes his way through a couple of Dogs defenders to score. Soward with the boot from the opposite sideline nails it
St George Illawarra Dragons 14-0
29 min: Dragons making their way down field quite easily.
30 min: Dogs can't respond, Dragons defence isn't allowing them to move very far and Keating's boot taken beautifully by Nightingale who brins it 35 out from his line.
31 min: Dragons now threatening every set making very hard work for the Bulldogs.
32 min: A couple of half breaks in the Bulldogs' set and Hodkinson puts in a peatuiful kick which finds grass and just sits on the goal line before getting picked up by Dragons hands.
33 min: Soward playing the ball here makes an interesting run, Hornby puts it to boot and earns a repeat set through a line drop out.
34 min: Dogs steal the ball back, have a lot of yardage to make up.
35 min: PENALTY to the Bulldogs, this should help them down field.
36 min: Bulldogs can'tmount the pressure, Foster knocks it on to hand the ball back to the Dragons.
38 min: Dragons run it on the last, put it through hands before getting it back to Soward who puts a dribbling kick in which Barba does well to cover and get on to IDris who get collected by the defence in goal for the third Bulldogs line drop out.
39 min: PENALTY against the Dogs for a strip with three in the tackle, penalty awarded 28 out so Dragons opt for the two.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT
Soward's boot doesn't have enough on it.
St George Illawarra Dragons 14-0
40 min: PENALTY to the Dragons as the hooter blows, but they use it to gain ground.
40 min: FIELD GOAL
Ball taken from the penalty given to Soward who boots a field goal from the 40 metre line.
St George Illawarra Dragons 15-0
40 min: And that will be all for the half, Dragons go into the interval up 15 - 0.
41 min: Time blown on for the second half and we are back underway.
41 min: Good set to open the first half for the Dogs, Hodkinson dabs it low to help the defence chase.
42 min: Strong display from the Dragons and Soward's boot working wonders out there with the defence doign the rest of the work.
45 min: TRY
TRY yo the Bulldogs! Payne offloads to Keating who makes a break down the Dragons' right hand defence, gets it on to Lett who streaks the rest of the way to the tryline to score. Conversion from Turner unsuccessful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 15-4
46 min: Bulldogs lose it and Dragons get a scrum about 40 out.
47 min: A little messy play hands the ball back to the Bulldogs.
50 min: Cleaner displays from both sides, strong efforts now, Dragons still looking well on top.
53 min: Some strong feeling starting to show in the game, some niggle going on here and there, and a PENALTY plus ten metres aaginst the Buldogs.
56 min: Some errors both ways s well as some great footballing displays.
58 min: Lett walks down the tunnel with some hamstrng trouble.
60 min: TRY
TRY to the Bulldogs! Hodkinson with a high kick finds Idris flying above the pack to take it then pop it out to Turner who in turn gets it back on to Hodkinson to score between the posts. Easy conversion for Turner.
St George Illawarra Dragons 15-10
63 min: Dragons starting to appear shellshocked allowing the Bulldogs to start dominating play, with some uncharacteristically ordinary defence.
65 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Soward with an odd drop goal attempt misses.
St George Illawarra Dragons 15-10
67 min: PENALTY to the Dragons for blatant offside from the Bulldogs.
68 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Another field goal attempt from Soward, again waved away.
St George Illawarra Dragons 15-10
72 min: Teams fighting hard here, Bulldogs with plenty of energy and Dragons solid in defence.
75 min: Seeing teams really searcing for poins now, not helped by some errors, but defence is dominating the play.
78 min: Strong efforts from both sides, noone giving in.
80 min: Bulldogs lose possession in the last minute to end their chances with 30 seconds left on the clock.
80 min: Dragons play out the closing seconds before thr hooter marks their victory. Dragons take the game 15 - 10.