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Fulltime score: Round 24 Wests Tigers 54 v Canterbury Bulldogs 2
Match summary: The Wests Tigers have handed a second consecutive thrashing to the Canterbury Bulldogs with a 54-2 walloping at Telstra Stadium.
All of the early possession went to the Bulldogs, but they could only come away with a penalty goal following a high tackle on Braith Anasta in the 8th minute. It was the only points they would score for the night as the Tigers ran riot from then on to post nine converted tries.
It was a wonderful Tigers performance, featuring their trademark razzle-dazzle on attack but also some extremely effective defence as they kept the defending Premiers tryless for the match. For a forward pack constantly accused of being too small, they stood up strongly to the Bulldogs and created the space required to unleash the smaller men with brutal effect.
Brett Hodgson came away with a personal haul of 22 points, setting a new Tigers record along the way in a dominant display. Also strong was John Skandalis, who led the way for his forwards with a memorable performance in his 200th NRL appearance. Paul Whatuira notched up a hat-trick to keep his name among the NRL's leading try-scorers for the season, and there was also the customary brilliance from Scott Prince and Benji Marshall in the halves.
While the Doggies were comprehensively outplayed, Mark O'Meley never threw in the towel and was easily their best player for the night. For the rest though - it should be reasonably safe to say that they can't sink much lower than this.
Tigers v Bulldogs match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
Scorers: WESTS TIGERS 54 Tries: Whatuira 3, Richards 2, Galea, Marshall, Hodgson, Prince Goals: Hodgson 9/9 CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 2 Tries: Goals: Young 1/1
Venue: Telstra Stadium Referee: Steve Clark Half time: Tigers 24 Bulldogs 2
Live commentary: Welcome to Telstra Stadium for our Round 24 Kickoff between the Tigers and the Bulldogs!
The Tigers are aiming for an unprecedented 8th-straight victory, while the Bulldogs are seemingly only playing for pride after being belted by the Eels last week. Could they still have a finals chance?
Both teams have run out in their 70's "flashback" jerseys, and we're underway!
0 min: KICKOFF
3 min: The Tigers attempt a tricky backline move from a scrum win on their own 20, but Brett Hodgson knocks-on.
4 min: HELD UP - Mark "Mohawk" O'Meley is held up over the line by four Tigers as the Bulldogs look to take advantage of some excellent field position.
6 min: All the ball is going to the Dogs at the moment as they force a second consecutive line drop-out from the Tigers.
8 min: PENALTY GOAL - Bulldogs Todd Payten clocks Braith Anasta high right in front of the posts, and Luke Young steps up to slot an easy two points. Tigers 0 Bulldogs 2
11 min: TRY - Tigers A couple of errors from the Dogs hands some good field position straight back to the Tigers. Some quick hands leads to Paul Whatuira crossing out wide for the opening try of the night. Brett Hodgson lands a great conversion. Tigers 6 Bulldogs 2
15 min: A Robbie Farah grubber into the in-goal is well cleaned up by Luke Young. The Tigers look to have recovered from a slow start and are looking impressive on attack.
21 min: TRY - Tigers A beautiful short pass from Scott Prince is taken by Ben Galea who strolls 25 metres to score under the posts. Brett Hodgson adds the extras. Tigers 12 Bulldogs 2
25 min: Braith Anasta is penalised for a high shot on Ray Cashmere as the Dogs start to show signs of frustration.
29 min: TRY - Tigers John Wilson squeezes through a gap inside his own half and flicks a ball away to Benji Marshall, who races away 60 metres down the chalk to score a great try. Brett Hodgson kicks another two points. Tigers 18 Bulldogs 2
32 min: TRY - Tigers It's a carve up! Paul Whatuira finds himself on the end of some slick backline passing well within his own half, and then manages to evade Tony Grimaldi and sprints away 60 metres to score another sparkling Tigers try. Conversion OK from Hodgson. Tigers 24 Bulldogs 2
40 min: Scott Prince attempts a field goal at the hooter sounds, but his kick floats wide.
HALFTIME: Tigers 24 Bulldogs 2 Things are looking very grim for the Bulldogs tonight as the Tigers brand of sparkling attack is certainly paying off. It will take a monumental turn-around to change the result of this one. Possession: Tigers 48% Bulldogs 52% Completion: Tigers 16/21 Bulldogs 12/18 Missed Tackles: Tigers 12 Bulldogs 16 Errors: Tigers 5 Bulldogs 7
The second half is underway!
45 min: A great length of the field set from the Bulldogs finishes with a grubber kick into the in-goal which is well claimed by John Wilson.
47 min: The video ref is checking a possible Tigers try ...
47 min: TRY - Tigers Consecutive penalties help the Tigers down to the other end of the field, where a Robbie Farah grubber kick is juggled by Benji Marshall and knocked back to Pat Richards who scores the try. Brett Hodgson continues his perfect night with the boot. Tigers 30 Bulldogs 2
54 min: Willie Mason throws out a lazy arm that catches Benji Marshall high. More great field position coming up for the Tigers.
55 min: TRY - Tigers Brett Hodgson takes a perfect short pass from Todd Payten and scores under the posts. Hodgson converts his own try. Tigers 36 Bulldogs 2
60 min: Some more razzle-dazzle from the Tigers doesn't quite work out, and ends with John Skandalis (!) kicking the ball dead from halfway.
65 min: TRY - Tigers Paul Whatuira scores a hat-trick tonight. A stunning inside ball from Scott Prince splits the Bulldogs defence, and Whatuira is on hand to finish the movement in style. Brett Hodgson adds the extras. Tigers 42 Bulldogs 2
70 min: BIFF - Adam Brideson and Chris Heighington have a scuffle after Brideson appears to drop an elbow into a tackle.
71 min: TRY - Tigers Scott Prince adds to the massacre. John Skandalis popped a nice offload to Prince, who runs an easy 25 metres to the line. Hodgson kicks the conversion, equalling the Tigers record for most points in a match with 20. Tigers 48 Bulldogs 2
77 min: TRY - Tigers Pat Richards grabs his second for the night. Some sweet backline passing creates a gap out wide, and Whatuira puts Richards over in the corner. Tim Sheens is rumoured to have cracked a smile. Hodgson nails a beautiful kick from the sideline. Tigers 54 Bulldogs 2
FULLTIME: Tigers 54 Bulldogs 2 The Tigers have delivered an outstanding performance tonight, which has almost certainly put the Dogs to rest for season 2005. Several records have been smashed, several reputations have been enhanced, and even more reputations are lying in tatters on the field of Telstra Stadium. Full time stats: Possession: Tigers 55% Bulldogs 45% Completion: Tigers 33/42 Bulldogs 19/31 Missed tackles: Tigers 19 Bulldogs 36 Errors: Tigers 10 Bulldogs 13
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - Brett Hodgson (Tigers) 2 - John Skandalis (Tigers) 1 - Paul Whatuira (Tigers) -----------------------------------------