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Fulltime score: Round 26 Sydney Roosters 32 Canterbury Bulldogs 12
Match summary: The Roosters have won clinically against the Bulldogs at Aussie Stadium this afternoon to send their captain Luke Ricketson our a winner.
The game was a very dull and dreary affair in Sunday afternoon rain as the 'Dogs continued their poor form into their last match of the year, and the Roosters took advantage early, leading by 14 after 25 minutes. From there the 'Dogs just couldn't claw back and while the score didn't change until after the break, the Roosters were always going to get the competition points.
In what was supposed to be a Grand Final replay, very few of the players from last years decider managed to play today and it showed, as the quality of the match was greatly depreciating as the afternoon wore on. Rookie Sam Perrett managed to get across the line twice and was one of the better players for the Roosters, along with Finch and Minichiello. The Bulldogs had Braith Anasta and Luke Young playing well for a side that ultimately gave up, despite scoring double figures for the first time in over a month.
For both sides - they're left to wonder what 2006 holds.
Roosters v Bulldogs match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
Scorers: SYDNEY ROOSTERS 32 Tries: S Perrett 2, R Cross, A Roberts, A Minichiello, M Crocker Goals: C Fitzgibbon 2/4, A Roberts 1/1, L Ricketson 1/1 CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 12 Tries: C Hughes, D McIlwain Goals: L Young 2/2
Venue: Aussie Stadium Crowd: 8,903 Referee: Sean Hampstead Halftime: Roosters 14-0
Live commentary: A very exciting Grand Final replay coming up at Aussie Stadium between Sydney and Canterbury. Roosters - will kick off. Sam Perrett (in jersey 18) will take the field in the centres for Soliola who is out, while Crocker will start and Tupou is shifted to the bench. Bulldogs - Irvine is out, Perry comes onto the bench in #18.
0 min: Match underway at Aussie!
2 min: NEWS Sloppy opening from both sides, Finch drops the ball backwards on the last, scoops it up, bombs, and Luke Young drops it. Roosters on the attack early. 0 all.
4 min: TRY Roosters Ryan Cross exposes Canterbury's right side defence and goes over easily. Kick goes wide from Fitzgibbon. Roosters 4-0.
9 min: NEWS Both Anasta and Finch firing stupid kicks out on the full within 30 second of each other. The game is turning into a dire affair very early between last years Grand Finalists. Roosters 4-0.
14 min: NEWS A bit of fire coming into this one now as the Dogs have some attacking sets but can't cross the line. Roosters giving away a number of silly penalties. Still Roosters by 4.
19 min: TRY Roosters Amos Roberts scores the softest try in NRL history after taking an intercepting and having NO opposition running downfield. Fitzgibbon converts easily and the Roosters begin what looks like another Dog day afternoon. Roosters 10-0.
22 min: TRY Roosters Sam Perrett pushes across against some more soft Canterbury defence. Fitzgibbon misses again. Roosters 14-0.
25 min: INJURY Bulldogs Cameron Phelps adds to the 'Dogs injury problems as he's carted from the park with a jaw problem after head contact with a Rooster player.
36 min: NEWS Scrappy game of football, mistakes from both sides, Roosters defence a lot more powerful but they lead the error count. Roosters 14-0.
HALFTIME: Sydney Roosters 14 Bulldogs 0. While the Roosters hold a lead that indicates they will go on to win comfortably, the final 15 minutes of the first half have said nothing about either side wanting to earn the bragging rights available with this contest. The 'Dogs have had much attack but haven't been able to cross the line, whilst the Roosters have just been defending, and when they do attack, errors pop up left right and centre. Very disappointing when you consider the excellent contest we had only 11 months ago.
Second half underway...
42 min: NEWS A dubious forward pass ruling gives Bulldogs the ball on the attack but no chance of scoring. Still 14-0 to Roosters.
44 min: TRY Roosters Minichiello goes in under the posts after a wide play from Finch and Perrett. Roberts converts. Roosters 20-0.
50 min: TRY Roosters Crocker scores, Ricketson converts, as the Dogs are set to be nailed yet again. Roosters 26-0.
58 min: TRY Bulldogs Hughes sneaks across to ensure the Dogs embarrassment doesn't stay at zero. Young converts. Roosters 26-6.
68 min: NEWS Game turning very quiet, basic sets from both sides. Surprisingly the error count is greater from the Roosters but their defence has won them this one. Just twelve minutes left this season for these two clubs. Very disappointing game of footy. Roosters 26-6.
70 min: TRY Roosters Perrett bags a double as the Roosters exploit an overlap. Fitzy takes the kicking duties back and converts easily. Roosters 32-6.
78 min: TRY Bulldogs McIlwain grounds the ball, Young converts as the Dogs cross into double figures for the first time since thier loss to Newcastle a month ago. Roosters 32-12.
80 min: MISSED FIELD GOAL Bulldogs Grimaldi takes a late shot at field goal as the season winds to a close for the two grand finalists. Roosters 32-12.
FULLTIME. Sydney Roosters 32 Bulldogs 12. A scrappy affair has seen Luke Ricketson go out a winner at Aussie. The Dogs were never in it, not even when they arrived at the ground earlier this afternoon. Roosters defence and Canterbury's lack of effort in attack were the telling points of a very dull game of footy. We say farewell to 2005 for the Grand Finalists, as the Roosters wait to see whether they came 9th or 10th as the Panthers play Wests.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Finch (Roosters) 2 - S Perrett (Roosters) 1 - B Anasta (Bulldogs) -----------------------------------------