Full Time
6:00pm Fri April 5, 2024
Round 5 - Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park / Wanngal - Crowd: 7169

Match Overview

The Canterbury Bulldogs paid tribute to their 2004 premiership-winning side in style with a 30-26 win over the Sydney Roosters, despite leading 26-0 at the break and playing 55 minutes with an extra man advantage. 

The Roosters set the tone for the way they would play in just the second tackle of the match when Dom Young lost possession, followed by a failed challenge. Canterbury capitalised with a well-executed scrum play to send Blake Taaffe over for the first try out wide. Matt Burton converted from wide for a 6-0 lead. The Bondi boys continued their error-plagued opening half when a failed backline sweep forced another error. The Dogs capitalised brilliantly when Kurt Mann wrestled his arm free to find Burton for the second try and a 12-0 lead.

The Roosters had opportunities but let themselves get in the way, Dom Young streaked away down the wing but opted against going back inside and backed himself. Taaffe made a brilliant cover tackle and stopped the raid. Canterbury again exposed the right edge defence of the Roosters when Viliame Kikau streaked away and got what was a suspect pass to Burton for his second and it was 18-0.

Trent Robinson's men were going missing, both figuratively and literally with James Tedesco and Sam Walker leaving the game with failed HIA's. Young found himself back in the spotlight, again for the wrong reasons when he was sent off for a horror high shot on Taaffe which also ended Taaffe's night prematurely. Burton landed a penalty goal and it was 20-0 after 26 minutes. After a mini resistance, Sam Hughes crashed through some soft tackles to score and make it 26-0 at the change of ends.

The second half began and it was almost a brand-new game. The Roosters treated it like it was 0-0 and looked immediately better. Luke Keary broke through some would-be tacklers and linked up with Egan Butcher for the first of the second half after six minutes. Four minutes later, Naufahu Whyte provided much-needed impact and crossed for a strong first try at the NRL level and it was quickly a competitive ball game.

From a glut of possession that was executed with great precision, it was back to two possessions when Keary's bomb wasn't defused by Jacob Kiraz, Daniel Tupou was on the spot and basket-balled it to Butcher for his second try. With Suaalii off for an HIA after a head-slam from Sam Hughes, Keary's lack of goal-kicking experience would mean the Roosters were going up by fours. Two minutes later, Keary combined with Angus Crichton who turned it back on the in-side to Manu to reduce the margin to just six points.

Canterbury clinched the match with 16 to go when Burton completed his hat trick finally taking advantage of the 12-man Roosters. The missed kick kept them in the game prematurely. Victor Radley ended up in the sin-bin courtesy of a contentious hip-drop ruling from the Bunker, but replays showed the hip-drop mechanisms that we're all familiar with.

Despite being down to 11 men, the Roosters weren't done with yet and Tupou crossed following a shift to the left to give them some life and the gap was just four points after Suaalii came back to convert. The Roosters threw everything at the Dogs but it just wasn't enough for victory and the Bulldogs held on in the spirit of the 2004 premiership-winning side.

3. Viliame Kikau

Absolutely tore the Chooks apart in that first half, some great runs and scintilating efforts. Hopefully his injury isn't severe.

2. Luke Keary

Keary gave some spark to the Roosters in the second half setting up two tries and controlling the state of the attack given the chaos that ensued in the first half.

1. Matt Burton

All his tries came from great backing up and he was everywhere. Some good kicking that put the Roosters under pressure early but when push came to shove with the extra man advantage. He could've done more.