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The fairytale season of the Canterbury Bulldogs has come to an end this evening at Suncorp Stadium as the Warriors advanced to the Toyota Cup decider.
In a tense thriller which served as a curtain raiser to the Titans v Roosters NRL preliminary final, the scoreboard attendant wasn't troubled in the first half-hour, before Canterbury posted back-to-back tries and giving them a halftime lead of 10-0.
The Warriors had the better running in the second half, a Omar Slaimankhel double levelling scores at 10-all before Aiden Sezer broke the deadlock to give the Bulldogs back the lead after 53 minutes.
It wasn't long before Shaun Johnson stepped through some feeble defence up the middle to level the scores at 16-all, then potted a field goal to put his side in front by one.
The Bulldogs defended desperately and were equally desperate in attack, pushing passes and wasting line breaks as the Warriors clung to their 17-16 lead, before Glen Fisiiahi crossed off a Nafetalai Seluini break to put the result beyond doubt with less than five minutes remaining.
The result sees Canterbury's season end a week short of the big one, after having only lost one match since Round 8, while the Warriors will face the winner of the Rabbitohs v Raiders preliminary final at ANZ Stadium.
The Toyota Cup Grand Final will be played at ANZ Stadium next Sunday, as a prelude to the NRL decider. Kickoff is 2:00pm.
Warriors 23 (Slaimankhel 2, Johnson, Fisiiahi tries; Johnson 3/4 goals; 1 field goal) def Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16 (Aiden Sezer, Ratu Tagive, Paki Afu tries; Aiden Sezer 2/3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Halftime: Bulldogs 10-0
Earlier today at Suncorp Stadium, the ARL Schoolboys Cup final went the way of Sydney's The Hills Sports High School, after an 18-14 win over Queensland-based Keebra Park State High School.