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Video Referee Steve Clark has sensationally denied the Bulldogs a last-minute try as the St George Illawarra Dragons held on for a 20-18 victory.
A sell-out crowd of 18,415 witnessed the clash as the result was ultimately decided by the Video Ref disallowing what seemed a legitimate four-pointer.
Veteran fullback Luke Patten broke the line in the 79th minute with the Bulldogs trailing by two points and when he found Jamal Idris who ran over to score it appeared the Bulldogs had stolen victory. The try went to the Video Referee and Steve Clark bemusingly deemed Jamie Soward to have been held back in defence by Greg Eastwood as he chased after Patten. Even Dragons fans would have been amazed at the decision and much will be said about it post-game.
The Dragons started the game dominating possession and territory and they finally converted pressure into points when they opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Form frontrower Michael Weyman barged over for the home side and they were in again soon after through Ben Creagh to open up a 14-0 lead.
The Bulldogs desperately needed points before halftime and inspirational halfback Brett Kimmorley delivered when he sliced through to score just before the break.
The Bulldogs looked to continue their momentum in the second half but it crashed to a halt when Kimmorley was Sin-Binned in the 47th minute. Darius Boyd broke the line for the Dragons and linked up with Matt Cooper who inexplicably held the ball with a man free on his inside. Kimmorley made the tackle but was sent for 10 after holding him down for too long.
The Bulldogs held strong with their playmaker in the bin and they were rewarded in the 58th minute when Ben Hannant crashed over to score.
With only two points between the sides each team battled for ascendency and it was Dragons frontrower Justin Poore who struck the next blow as he broke the line 15m out and showed good pace to run around Patten to score.
The Dogs refused to give in as they immediately struck back through Jamal Idris as he flew high to score from a kick. The Bulldogs then earnt a goal-line dropout in the final minutes but after they gave away possession the game appeared to be over until the highly controversial No Try occurred.
Video Referee Steve Clark will have plenty to answer for from media and fans alike after what the majority would deem as a shocking decision.
Hazem El Masri played his 300th career game for the Bulldogs but it will be a night to remember for all the wrong reasons.
Match Details St George Illawarra Dragons 20 def Canterbury Bulldogs 18 Round 10 - Friday May 15th, 2009 7:35pm Venue: WIN Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah Referee: Tony Archer & Ashley Klein Sideline Officials: Paul Holland & Jeff Younis Video Referee: Steve Clark Crowd: 18,415 Halftime: Dragons 14 Bulldogs 6 St George Illawarra Dragons 20 Tries: Michael Weyman, Ben Creagh, Justin Poore Goals: Jamie Soward (4/4) Canterbury Bulldogs 18 Tries: Brett Kimmorley, Ben Hannant, Jamal Idris Goals: Hazem El Masri (3/3) LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Justin Poore (Dragons) 2 Points: Jamal Idris (Bulldogs) 1 Point: Ben Creagh (Dragons) LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Hello and welcome to tonight's live coverage of the top-of-the-table clash between the St. George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at WIN Jubilee Stadium. It's a sell out crowd at Kogarah for the opening game of Heritage Round and the Hazem El Masri's 300th NRL Career game.
Bulldogs: Greg Eastwood comes into the starting side for Gary Warburton who drops back to the bench. Yilleen Gordon is out and Daniel Holdsworth comes onto the bench in 19.
DRAGONS: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Brett Morris 3. Beau Scott 4. Matt Cooper 5. Wendell Sailor 6. Jamie Soward 7. Ben Hornby (c) 8. Justin Poore 9. Dean Young 10. Michael Weyman 11. Matt Prior 12. Ben Creagh 13. Neville Costigan Interchange: 14. Dan Hunt 15. Luke Priddis 16. Jason Nightingale 17. Mickey Paea
BULLDOGS: 1. Luke Patten 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Daryl Millard 4. Jamal Idris 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Ben Roberts 7. Brett Kimmorley 8. Ben Hannant 9. Michael Ennis 10. Michael Hodgson 16. Greg Eastwood 12. Andrew Ryan (c) 13. David Stagg Interchange 15. Chris Armit 11. Gary Warburton 17. Jarrad Hickey 19. Daniel Holdsworth
Talk about the game as it happens - Dragons v Bulldogs - click here!
1 min: KICKOFF! The Bulldogs kick off and the Dragons have first use of the footy.
4 min: PENALTY Dragons. Kimmorley penalised and the Dragons have a tap 30m out from the Dogs line.
5 min: A confused Ben Hornby is tackled on the last in a poor end to the set for the Dragons.
6 min: SCRUM Dragons. Knock-on from the Bulldogs and the Dragons have a scrum feed 25m out from the Dogs line.
8 min: SCRUM Dragons. Ennis rakes the ball out of the hands of Young at marker and the Dragons get a scrum 15m out.
9 min: Goal-line Dropout Bulldogs. Soward kicks across field towards Sailor and Patten ends up grounding the ball in-goal.
11 min: Dean Young launches over the tryline from dummy-half but is held up by a resilient Bulldogs defence.
12 min: Brett Morris splits the Bulldogs with a kick return and links up with Soward who looks set to score but Patten makes a diving ankle tap and Soward drops the ball forward as he hits the ground.
16 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. Matt Cooper makes a shocking tackle on Jamal Idris as he leaps into the air to take a bomb. Idris lies reeling on the ground in pain but is now on his feet.
20 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Michael Weyman crashes over for the Dragons as the Bulldogs finally give in to a mountain of pressure. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 6-0
22 min: Idris breaks through the line with a strong run and is just dragged down by Boyd.
23 min: PENALTY Dragons. The Dogs are penalised for holding the man down and the Dragons have a tap on their 40m line.
24 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra Dragons The Dogs are penalised for being offside and the Dragons take the two on offer. St George Illawarra Dragons 8-0
27 min: One-on-one strip from Matt Cooper on Gary Warburton and the Dragons just 20m out.
28 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Ben Creagh steams through untouched to score the Dragons second try. Hornby shaped to pass long but slipped a short ball to Creagh slipped through to score. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 14-0
32 min: 40/20 Dragons. Soward launches a 40/20 over El Masri's head and the Dragons have a chance to go in again.
32 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. Ben Creagh is tackled just short of the line and stretches his arm over to score but after going to the Video Ref it is ruled to be a double movement.
33 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. Priddis penalised for holding Stagg down in the play-the-ball and the Dogs have a tap 40m out from the Dragons line.
34 min: Goal-line Dropout Dragons. The Bulldogs get a repeat set as a Kimmorley grubber is knocked dead.
36 min: Goal-line Dropout Dragons. Hornby knocks an Ennis grubber dead and the Dogs have another chance to get on the board.
37 min: SCRUM Dragons. David Stagg knocks-on and the Dragons have a scrum 35m from their line.
38 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. Beau Scott penalised for continuing his run after being called held.
39 min: Goal-line Dropout Dragons. The Dogs get their third repeat set in five minutes as Boyd takes the ball dead. The Dogs desperately need a try before halftime.
40 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs And Kimmorley has done it for the Bulldogs! The veteran throws a big dummy and slides through a couple of defenders to score on the stroke of halftime. El Masri kicks the first goal of his 300th game. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 14-6
Half Time: St George Illawarra Dragons 14 lead the Canterbury Bulldogs 6 The Dragons dominated possession and territory in the first half and looked set to hold a commanding 14 point lead at the break. Kimmorley scored just before halftime for the Bulldogs to to keep them right back in the contest.
41 min: KICKOFF! Back underway as the Dogs have the football.
44 min: Brett Morris knocks on as the Dragons shift the ball side-to-side.
46 min: Ennis kicks across field and it hits the cross bar! Dean Young picks the ball up and the Dragons have the ball.
47 min: SIN-BIN Darius Boyd breaks the line and gives a magical ball to Cooper who streaks down field. Cooper absolutely bombs a try as he is tackled with an open man inside him. Kimmorley is Sin-Binned for holding Cooper down in the tackle.
48 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. Priddis penalised and the Dogs have a tap 40m out.
50 min: NO TRY Bulldogs. Idris steams onto a ball and looks like he's scored but the Video Ref shows he lost the ball before getting it down.
50 min: PENALTY Dragons. The Bulldogs penalised and the Dragons have a tap 40m from the Bulldogs line.
51 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. The Dragons are penalised for an obstruction and the Dogs are off the hook.
52 min: The Dogs kick to the wing on the last but it's a poor option as Sailor takes it in-goal with no pressure on him.
53 min: PENALTY Dragons. The Dragons have a tap 30m from the Dogs line.
56 min: Kimmorley back on the field for the Bulldogs.
56 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. The Dogs earn a penalty and have tap on halfway.
57 min: PENALTY Bulldogs. High tackle from Creagh and the Dragons are warned from Archer for four straight penalties against them.
58 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Ben Hannant barges over for the Bulldogs and they have stormed back into this game. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 14-12
63 min: SCRUM Dragons. Andrew Ryan loses the ball on his 20m line and the Dragons have a fantastic attacking opportunity.
65 min: The Dragons keep the ball alive on the last and Soward finds the goal post with his grubber but Ben Roberts cleans up.
67 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Justin Poore breaks through the line and scores a brilliant try. The big man is swamped by his teammates in celebration. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 20-12
71 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs What a try from the Bulldogs to hit back. Kimmorley kicks across field and Idris soars high to snatch the ball and swivel out of a tackle to ground the ball. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. St George Illawarra Dragons 20-18
73 min: Ben Roberts breaks through the line for the Dogs and they are right on the attack 20m out. Ennis kicks early in the tackle count and it rolls well dead. The wrong option from the Dogs.
77 min: Goal-line Dropout Dragons. Kimmorley grubbers into the ingoal and Sailor is tackled dead. The Dogs have a chance to win the match.
79 min: The Dogs throw everything at the Dragons but Soward claims a grubber.
80 min: NO TRY Bulldogs! Luke Patten breaks the line and gets a pass away to Idris who scores for the Dogs. It is unbelievably given a No Try as the Video Ref rules Soward to have been held back in defence? Absolutely nothing in it and 99% of rugby league fans would agree the Dogs have been robbed. Bottles being thrown onto the field as Bulldogs players walks over to the sideline to stop fans from doing so.
Full Time: St George Illawarra Dragons 20 defeat Canterbury Bulldogs 18.