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Bulldogs Match Reports


Round 1: Bulldogs v South Sydney Rabbitohs Round 1
South Sydney Rabbitohs 16
Canterbury Bulldogs 14

Sydney Football Stadium
Report by TONY MEGAHEY,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 5)
HOW IT WAS WON: Souths' early-season hunger was greater than the Bulldogs, as was their enthusiasm. The biggest front row in the premiership rotated four men to match the Bulldogs' pack, and in a game decided by seconds and centimetres, the finishing brilliance of Darrell Trindall and Craig Wing secured a "photo finish" win.

HOW IT WAS LOST: With the game looking safe, the Bulldogs gave away vital possession with a penalty, a dropped ball and a scrum lost against the feed. When the pressure mounted in the second half, it didn't help last year's runners-up that a couple of their key men were well below their best.

THE GAMEBREAKER: Trindall set up a spectacular first-half try and handled twice in the final movement, which saw Wing plunge over in the corner as the timekeeper was getting set to reach for the siren.

STICKY TRICKY: Feisty halfbacks Ricky "Sticky" Stuart and Darrell "Tricky" Trindall exchanged punches at the scrumbase early in the match and continued to niggle each other all afternoon.

SUPER SIX: Souths took the ball 99 metres in six tackles in the 68th minute after Stuart had lost the ball on the Rabbitoh line. Souths spent the remainder of the match camped in Canterbury territory, eventually completing their great escape a minute from time.

KEY PLAY: With the Bulldogs looking certain to close it out, Willie Talau was penalised and then "binned" for holding back a Rabbitoh support player, giving Souths possession and a sniff of victory.

THEY SAID IT: "We won our first game last season against Auckland, in Auckland, and finished third-last. We aren't getting carried away," said Souths skipper Scan Garlick. "The halves can't do the business unless the front-rowers give them the time and space and up front we did that today," offered Mark Carroll. "They got us for enthusiasm. The circumstances were there for Souths today but it'll he different next time," said Bulldog hooker Jason Hetherington.

MIXED BAG: Big forward Matt Parsons showed plenty of heart, but almost cruelled Souths' chances with a string of mistakes in the dying stages.

RARITY: Darren Smith, last season's leading tryscorer and one of the game's best opportunists, lost the ball with the line open, while Stuart twice lost the ball in his own quarter.

SIZE ISN'T EVERYTHING: Weighing in at well under 80kg, Wing more than matched the previous night's deeds by another lightweight, Parramatta's Luke Burt.  Both are in first grade to stay.

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 16 (Brett Rodwell, Sean Garlick, Craig Wing tries; Darrell Trindall 2 goals) defeated CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 14 (Bradley Clyde, Rod Silva tries; Daryl Halligan 3 goals).  Scrums: South Sydney Rabbitohs 9-7.  Penalties: South Sydney Rabbitohs 9-8.  Crowd: 9673.  Goalkickers: South Sydney Rabbitohs - Darrell Trindall 2 from 3.  Canterbury Bulldogs - Daryl Halligan 3 from 3.  Referee: Sean Hampstead

WHEN THEY SCORED: 8 min: Souths 6-0 (Brett Rodwell try, Darrell Trindall goal).  20 min: 6-all (Brad Clyde try, Daryl Halligan goal).  31 min: Canterbury 12-6 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal).  46 min: Canterbury 14-6 (Daryl Halligan goal).  49 min: Canterbury 14-12 (Sean Garlick try, Darrell Trindall goal).  79 min: Souths 16-14 (Craig Wing try).

Round 2: Bulldogs v St George-Illawarra Dragons Round 2
Canterbury Bulldogs 14
St George-Illawarra Dragons 16

Kogarah Oval
Report by TONY MEGAHEY,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 6)
HOW IT WAS WON: After a welter of Dragon mistakes, Craig Smith was penalised and put on report for allegedly using his knees in a tackle, allowing Daryl Halligan to level at 18-all. Sustained Bulldog pressure then saw prop Barry Ward stand out of a scrum and send Willie Talau across for the decider.

HOW IT WAS LOST: The Dragons slaughtered two tries with the line open, twice lost scrums against the feed, kicked out on the full and conceded penalties in easy range for the radar-like Halligan.

THE GAMEBREAKER: Nuggety prop Barry Ward was the man of the match. He powered over from close range late in the first half, stood at five-eighth to bust tackles and gave the ball to Talau on a platter for the match-winning try. Two long-range goals by Halligan - who is yet to miss in '99 - were also crucial.

THE BIG TACKLES: New father of twins, Jason Hetherington, put together two more little rippers when he made crunching ball-and-all tackles on Dragon attackers set to score.

KEY PLAYS: The old combination of Ricky Stuart hitting Bradley Clyde with those familiar spiral passes that led to tries, and Stuart and Darren Britt contriving for two scrum wins against the feed.

DRAGON DISASTERS: Trent Barrett described the afternoon as his worst in football as the combination of two specialist five-eighths continued to falter. Playing two right centres - Mark Coyne and Paul McGregor - hasn't worked either. The outside backs continue to alternate, with Coyne going to the wing and Timmins playing alongside McGregor.

POOR PREPARATION: Another Mundine pre-game outburst again put pressure on everybody at Kogarah, including the players and officials. Opposing players have little time for the $600,000 man who demands respect but offers little in return. Humility isn't in his vocabulary.

IN SPITE OF IT ALL: For all their mistakes, the Dragons still made enough breaks to win the game. Their pace and flair is the envy of plenty of teams, and when it "gels" somebody is going to cop a hiding.   Saints could quite easily have won both their games.

WISECRACK: "Tell 'The Man" to switch to boxing and give everybody a break," was one Bulldog's advice for Mundine.

CHANGES: Somebody with a profile in the Saints' backline has to move, be dropped or make concessions as David Waite's task to accommodate and keep everybody happy becomes more difficult.

A TIP: Shift Mundine to centre or fullback and let him play like Andrew Walker at the Roosters.  Play Barrett in his best position at five-eighth where he will find form and confidence

THEY SAID IT: "Barrett is not a halfback, but as a five-eighth he can be good enough to play for Australia," offered Ricky Stuart. "You can't manufacture blokes for the most important positions on the field.   You can't play a specialist halfback as a five-eighth, either.  I'm no five-eighth neither is Langer, Taylor or Toovey."

THE HEAT: On a day where the beach would have been a far better option than the football field, players suffered severe weight loss and even wingers had to be spelled.

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 24 (Daryl Halligan, Barry Ward, Willie Talau tries; Daryl Halligan 6 goals) defeated ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 18 (Jamie Ainscough 2, Anthony Mundine tries; Wayne Bartrim 2, Brad Mackay goals).  Scrums: Canterbury 11-9.  Penalties: 6-all. Crowd: 13,497.  Goalkickers: Canterbury - Halligan 6 from 6. Dragons - Bartrim 2 from 4, Mackay 1 from 1.  Referee: Tim Mander

WHEN THEY SCORED: 15 min: Canterbury 2-nil (Daryl Halligan goal). 19 min: Dragons 4-2 (Jamie Ainscough try). 22 min: Canterbury 8-4 (Daryl Halligan try, goal). 29 min: Canterbury 14-4 (Barry Ward try, Daryl Halligan goal). 35 min: Canterbury 14-6 (Brad Mackay goal). 39 min: Canterbury 14-12 (Anthony Mundine try, Bartrim goal). 45 min: Canterbury 16-12 (Daryl Halligan goal). 58 min: Dragons 18-16 (Jamie Ainscough try, Wayne Bartrim goal). 64 min: 18-all. (Daryl Halligan goal) 77 min: Canterbury 24-18 (Willie Talau try, Daryl Halligan goal).

Round 3: Bulldogs v Newcastle Knights Round 3
Canterbury Bulldogs 28
Newcastle Knights 26

Stadium Australia
Report by JIM MARR,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 7)
HOW IT WAS WON: Throw in one crunching tackle, a couple of tasty pieces of Rod Silva magic then turn up the heat for half an hour.  That was the recipe for an unbelievable result, given everything that had happened over the previous 50 minutes.

HOW IT WAS LOST: Still not really sure. One moment the Knights were cruising, threatening to run up another of those embarrassing scorelines then they lost the plot.   Coach Warren Ryan suggested that the workload in the first 20 minutes, during which referee Brian Grant caned his charges 8-0 in the penalties, finally caught up with the Knights.

"WELCOME TO AUSTRALIA": Ricky Stuart's post-match message for former NFL player Greg Smith.  The NRL debutant made two costly errors which helped Canterbury's cause no end as they stormed back from 24-4 down.

HARD TO BELIEVE: The way Stuart and fellow Canberra recruit Bradley Clyde are battling to impose themselves in Bulldogs colours.  Nobody at Stadium Australia could recall as many Stuart passes failing to find their mark, but the feisty halfback wasn't looking for excuses. "My passing was the problem. It wasn't anything to do with combinations, it was me, mate," he conceded.

TURNING POINT: A great 65th-minute tackle on the unfortunate Smith which turned the ball over on Newcastle's quarter line.  Troy Stone knocked the winger off balance and Steve Reardon bashed him on the way to Silva's second try.

STAR TURN: Silva is a special player, one of a handful who can change the shape and direction of a match. He was instrumental in pulling this one out of the fire, slicing through centrefield to put his team in position for their first touchdown; turning Smith and Peter Shiels inside out and upside down for another; then finishing the movement that got the 'Dogs to within snapping distance.

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 28 (Rod Silva 2, Stephen Hughes, Daryl Halligan tries; Daryl Halligan 6 goals) defeated NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 26 (Steve Walters, Peter Shiels, Lenny Beckett, Andrew Johns tries; Andrew Johns 5 goals).  Scrums: 5-all.  Penalties: Canterbury 11-4.  Crowd: 26,341.   Goalkickers: Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 6 from 7. Newcastle - Andrew Johns 5 from 5.  Referee: Brian Grant.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 6 min: Newcastle (Steve Walters try, Andrew Johns goal). 16 min: Newcastle 6-2 (Daryl Halligan goal). 19 min: Newcastle 6-4 (Daryl Halligan goal). 28 min: Newcastle 12-4 (Peter Shiels try, Andrew Johns goal). 32 min: Newcastle 18-4 (Lenny Beckett try, Andrew Johns goal). 43 min: Newcastle 24-4 (Andrew Johns try, goal). 51 min: Newcastle 24-10 (Stephen Hughes try, Daryl Halligan goal). 62 min: Newcastle 26-10 (Andrew Johns goal). 63 min: Newcastle 26-16 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal). 66 min: Newcastle 26-22 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal). 69 min: Canterbury 28-26 (Daryl Halligan try, goal).

Round 4: Bulldogs v Melbourne Storm Round 4
Melbourne Storm 26
Canterbury Bulldogs 17

Olympic Park
Report by DAVID MIDDLETON,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 8)
HOW IT WAS WON: Planning, patience, power and persistence all played their part in one of the Storm's finest victories at Olympic Park. The plan was to get around Canterbury's compressed defence with snappy play from the outside backs. Bai, Ross and Geyer contributed with their slick hands at the back.  The patience shone through in the second half when the NRLs newest team looked like falling to another powerful second-half performance by the 'Dogs.  The power was supplied by Glenn Lazarus and his able lieutenants Wayne Evans and Robbie Kearns, who ensured the Storm's troopers kept advancing.  The persistence was personified by halves Hill and Kimmorley, who kept plugging away at the Canterbury line and ultimately found their way through the maze.

HOW IT WAS LOST: The modern game is littered with examples of teams who have relaxed after achieving a seven-point "buffer". The Bulldogs appeared to "drop off" after Ricky Stuart landed a 64th minute field-goal and the Storm pounced.

THE KEY PLAY: An incredible burst by Marcus Bai, who was released on the left flank by some ball movement that would have done Rugby's Ella brothers proud.  With the cover defence honing in on their target, Bai had no right to score, but his in-and-away beat Rod Silva and balance and strength did the rest.   Melbourne were back in business just two minutes after Stuart's field-goal.

A FAIR-DINKUM LEGEND (AFL): While Geelong were performing heroics at the MCG across the road, Canterbury's Hazem El Masri was doing likewise for the Bulldogs.  His leap to claim a Ricky Stuart bomb midway through the second half was pure Cazaly A Lebanese Rugby League winger claiming a spectacular mark in Melbourne?  We loved to see that!

TEST PREVIEW?: Did Olympic Park fans witness a preview of next month's Anzac Test with Richard Swain up against Jason Hetherington?   If Swain has his way, he'll be lining up for the Kiwis against Australia at Homebush on April 23.  Swain, whose mother is a New Zealander, announced his eligibility to play for the Kiwis last week and turned on another blinder against the incumbent Australian hooker.

THE BEST COMEBACK SINCE... At 30-something, the career of Melbourne skipper Glenn Lazarus appeared to be on the decline last year.   After a broken ankle in 1997 and another period on the sidelines late in the 1998 season, most fans expected Lazarus' career to be winding down.  Someone forgot to tell the big fella, who was among the Storm's best last Friday.  Every one of his 20 tackles packed a punch and he kept his team on the front foot whenever Canterbury threatened to gain the upper hand.  Lazarus would not look out of place in a NSW or Australian jersey again in 1999.

FATTY'S FEARLESS FORECAST: Channel Nine's Paul Vautin may be proved guilty of going off early, but he is now on the record that he believes we may have seen the 1999 premiers in action last Friday night.  And he wasn't referring to the 'Dogs ...

MELBOURNE STORM 26 (Marcus Bai 2, Robbie Kearns, Brett Kimmorley, Scott Hill tries; Matt Geyer 3 goals) defeated CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 17 (Corey Hughes, Rod Silva, Hazem El Masri tries; Hazem El Masri 2 goals; Ricky Stuart field goal).  Scrums: Canterbury 11-7.  Penalties: Canterbury 4-2.   Crowd: 13,297.  Goalkickers: Melbourne - Matt Geyer 3 from 6. Canterbury - Hazem El Masri 2 from 4.  Referee: Paul McBlane.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 9 min: Melbourne 2-0 (Matt Geyer goal). 13 min: 2-all (Hazem El Masri goal). 16 min: Melbourne 6- 2 (Robbie Kearns try). 27 min: 6-all (Corey Hughes try). 36 min: Canterbury 12-6 (Rod Silva try, Hazem El Masri goal). 53 min: Canterbury 12-10 (Marcus Bai try). 61 min: Canterbury 16-10 (Hazem El Masri try). 64 min: Canterbury 17-10 (Ricky Stuart field goal). 66 min: Canterbury 17-14 (Marcus Bai try). 71 min: Melbourne 20-17 (Brett Kimmorley try, Matt Geyer goal). 75 min: Melbourne 26-17 (Scott Hill try, Matt Geyer goal).

Round 5: Bulldogs v Brisbane Broncos Round 5
Canterbury Bulldogs 20
Brisbane Broncos 16

Stadium Australia
Report by GLENN JACKSON,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 9)
HOW IT WAS WON: The Bulldogs' up-and-in defence severed the Broncos' attacking options. Combine that with the Broncos' prolonged dose of lost confidence and there were few ways Brisbane could get over the line.  In the end they had to rely on an intercept, a dummy-half bust and a bomb for their points.  Ricky Stuart, Bradley Clyde and Darren Smith have proved outstanding recruits for the Bulldogs.

HOW IT WAS LOST: Canterbury exploited the Broncos' sliding defence, and might well have won by more than four points.

KEY PLAY: With just 15 minutes left on the clock and the scores locked at 12-all, Ricky Stuart dabbed a delightful grubber through for Rod Silva to score under the posts.  The try broke the Broncos' spirit, and eventually their back.

BRAD'S BOTTLER: Bradley Clyde had by far his best game in a Canterbury jersey.  His damaging runs kept the Bulldogs going forward and laid the foundations for the win.  Livewire fullback Silva wasn't far behind.

THEY SAID IT: "The guys now believe they can beat the Broncos and that's a hell of a confidence and morale booster," offered Canterbury coach Steve Folkes on Brisbane's shattered aura of invincibility.   "They're disappointed but they'll get over that," lamented Broncos coach Wayne Bennett. "It's a different type of disappointment to what they had two weeks ago against Melbourne, when they were embarrassed."

DEJA VU: A week previously Chris Walker was held up over the line and forced to wait an eternity for the video decision on a try which would have put the Broncos two points behind the Sharks.  Last Friday night, Walker was again forced to wait after he touched the ball down in the corner.  This time, though, he was given the green light.

BYE BYE BELMORE: There may have been 75,000 empty seats, but the Bulldogs still managed to break their previous home ground attendance record of 27,804, with more than 30,000 pouring through the turnstiles at Stadium Australia despite the constant threat of rain.

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 20 (Troy Stone, Darren Smith, Rod Silva tries; Hazem El Masri 4 goals) defeated BRISBANE BRONCOS 16 (Wendell Sailor, Gorden Tallis, Chris Walker tries; Darren Lockyer 2 goals).  Scrums: Canterbury 5-4  Penalties: Canterbury 4-3.  Crowd: 30,360.  Goalkickers: Canterbury - El Masri 4 from 4.  Brisbane - Lockyer 2 from 3.  Referee: Bill Harrigan.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 5 min: Brisbane 6-0 (Wendell Sailor try, Darren Lockyer goal).  30 min: 6-all (Troy Stone try, Hazem El Masri goal).  38 min: Canterbury 12-6 (Smith try, Hazem El Masri goal).  46 min: 12-all (Gorden Tallis try, Darren Lockyer goal).  65 min: Canterbury 18-12 (Rod Silva try, Hazem El Masri goal).  71 min: Canterbury 18-16 (Chris Walker try).  75 min: Canterbury 20-16 (Hazem El Masri goal).

Round 6: Bulldogs v Cronulla Sharks Round 6
Cronulla Sharks 22
Canterbury Bulldogs 8

Shark Park
Report by GLENN JACKSON,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 10)
HOW IT WAS WON: Cronulla shot to a 14-2 lead at the break and then withstood a huge amount of pressure as the Bulldogs clawed back into the game.  In the end the Sharks were more solid in defence and always looked more likely to score.  They didn't have a bad player on the night.

HOW IT WAS LOST: The Bulldogs had mountains of possession in the second half but failed to capitalise, scoring only once.  The rain, which fell just before halftime, didn't help but their attack still lacked direction without Craig Polla-Mounter.

KEY PLAY: With Cronulla leading 14-8 and the match in the balance, Canterbury halfback Ricky Stuart gave referee Paul McBlane a gobful and was penalised.   The Bulldogs were just starting to gain some momentum, but when Mat Rogers potted the two points the game was all but over.

GAMEBREAKER: Rogers did his Test chances no harm with an outstanding display.  He set up a try for Adam Dykes with a delightful chip and was strong in all facets of play.

ROUNDABOUT: Sharks fullback David Peachey left the crowd bemused with an extraordinary run just before halftime.  He picked up the ball from dummy half and proceeded to run around - almost in circles - for at least 10 seconds, before being tackled a couple of feet from where it all began.

TIGHT FIT: Cronulla officials were ecstatic when 20,793 crammed into Shark Park for the game, a new ground record. There was little room to swing a rat, let along a cat, on the hill.  For the record, the ground's capacity is 20,100.

WATCHING HIS WALLET: It was clear Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes wasn't happy with the performance of referee Paul McBlane.  Just how badly he felt was clouded by the NRLs tough penalties for criticism of officials.  "I haven't got 10 grand to spare," was his response when asked about McBlane's performance.

THEY SAID IT: "To me, I always felt we had them under control," was Sharks coach John Lang's assessment of the proceedings.  "The plan was to be more patient.  We realised that it could take 70 minutes to get them.   But they didn't listen to me," said Folkes.

CRONULLA SHARKS 22 (David Peachey, Adam Dykes, Chris McKenna tries; Mat Rogers 5 goals) defeated CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 8 (Stephen Hughes try; Hazem El Masri 2 goals).  Scrums: Canterbury 7-4.  Penalties: Cronulla 8-3.   Crowd: 20,793.  Goalkickers: Cronulla - Mat Rogers 5 from 6. Canterbury - Hazem El Masri 2 from 2.  Referee: Paul McBlane.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 20 min: Cronulla 6-0 (Adam Dykes try, Mat Rogers goal). 23 min: Cronulla 6-2 (Hazem El Masri goal). 33 min: Cronulla 12-2 (Chris McKenna try, Mat Rogers goal). 38 min: Cronulla 14-2 (Mat Rogers goal). 57 min: Cronulla 14-8 (Stephen Hughes try, Hazem El Masri goal). 63 min: Cronulla 16-8 (Mat Rogers goal). 75 min: Cronulla 22-8 (David Peachey try, Mat Rogers goal).


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