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Bulldogs Match Reports

Round 8: Bulldogs v Sydney City Roosters Round 8
Sydney City Roosters 42
Canterbury Bulldogs 6

Sydney Football Stadium
Report from
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 12)
HOW IT WAS WON: Through the brilliance of halves Brad Fittler and Adrian Lam, the Roosters unleashed an awesome display of attacking firepower to crush the lacklustre Bulldogs.  Fittler and Lam dictated terms, setting up their outside men for raid after raid into opposition territory.  The Roosters' defence was also superb, continually bustling Canterbury into errors.  It was the Roosters' seventh straight win, confirming their status as premiership favourites.

HOW IT WAS LOST: Coming off the bye, the Bulldogs lacked cohesion in attack.  Canterbury let Sydney City off the hook in the first half, coughing up possession a number of times in the Roosters' quarter.

TURNING POINT: Shane Rigon's try a minute from the break gave the Roosters a commanding 22-6 lead, snuffing out any hopes of a trademark Bulldogs fightback.

THEY SAID IT: "We have always been a good attacking side, but the hard work we have put into our defence is really starting to pay off," offered Lam. "You can't give any side a 16-point head start and expect to win," said dejected Bulldogs international Steve Price.

LOGAN'S RUN: Roosters front-rower Scott Logan continued his impressive start to the season, staking a claim for a berth in the NSW Origin side.  The strapping youngster makes yards up the middle and also has good ball skills.

FIELD OF NIGHTMARES: The SFS surface continues to he a problem, with referee Bill Harrigan having to stop the game because of large divots in the ground.  Ballboys covered the holes with sand, but ideally the NRL shouldn't play matches on the round before the problem is fixed. Hopefully, it won't take a major injury to force the NRL to take some action.

SYDNEY CITY ROOSTERS 42 (Robert Miles 2, Matt Sing 2, Adrian Lam, Brad Fittler, Shane Rigon, Luke Ricketson tries; Adrian Walker 5 goals) beat CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 6 (Hazem El Masri try, goal). Scrums: Sydney City 11-4. Penalties: 5-all. Crowd: 23,264. Goalkickers: Sydney City - Adrian Walker 5 from 8. Canterbury - Hazem El Masri 1 from 2.  Referee: Bill Harrigan.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 10 min: Sydney City 6-0 (Adrian Lam try, Adrian Walker goal). 12 min: Sydney City 12-0 (Brad Fittler try, Adrian Walker goal). 31 min: Sydney City 16-0 (Robert Miles try). 36 min: Sydney City 16-6 (Hazem El Masri try, goal). 39 min: Sydney City 22-6 (Shane Rigon try, Adrian Walker goal). 55 min: Sydney City 26-6 (Matt Sing try). 63 min: Sydney City 32-6 (Luke Ricketson try, Adrian Walker goal). 65 min: Sydney City 38-6 (Robert Miles try, Adrian Walker goal). 73 min: Sydney City 42-6 (Matt Sing try). INTERCHANGE: Sydney City - Nathan Wood, Julian Bailey, Dallas Hood, Shane Rigon. Canterbury - Barry Ward, Craig Polla-Mounter, Willie Talau, Dennis Scott.

Round 9: Bulldogs v Western Suburbs Magpies Round 9
Canterbury Bulldogs 26
Western Suburbs Magpies 12
Stadium Australia
Report by Damir Govorcin
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 13)
HOW IT WAS WON: It was a scrappy performance from the Bulldogs, but they capitalised on the Magpies' mistakes. Wests bustled Canterbury into errors, but the Bulldogs hung in and eventually landed two tries in the final 10 minutes.

HOW IT WAS LOST: A few costly turnovers and lapses in defence cruelled the Magpies' chances of victory. They had their opportunities to put the Bulldogs away in the second half, but coughed up possession to let them off the hook. Wests must learn to control the football if they are to remain competitive for the rest of the season.

TURNING POINT: With Canterbury ahead 14-12 with 10 minutes to go, replacement forward Dennis Scott put rookie halfback Brent Sherwin under the posts.   It gave the Bulldogs an eight-point buffer and broke the backs of the Magpies.

BRITT'S BREAK: Canterbury international Darren Britt will be sideiined for at least a month after breaking his ribs in the first minute of the match.

THEY SAID IT: "Everyone's trying hard, but we haven't clicked yet," said worried Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes. "Our last two games we have let slip through our fingers," said frustrated Magpies coach Tommy Raudonikis.   "It's shattering because we had enough opportunities to win two games," lamented Magpies skipper Steve Georgallis.

MILESTONES: Buildogs' Test front-rower Steve Price chalked up his 100th first-grade appearance for the club, while 20-year-old Sherwin made a solid debut.

SPENCE'S SOLO: Magpies second-rower Matthew Spence shocked his team-mates when he took a Jason Hetherington intercept and raced 80 metres to score.   Spence showed a surprising turn of pace to easily out-run Bulldogs five-eighth Glen Hughes.

WORRYING SIGNS: Touted as a premiership contender at the start of the season, Canterbury are struggling to live up to those expectations.  The Bulldogs' ball control in their last two games has been poor and defensively they are having a few problems.  A better team than Wests would have buried them.

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 26 (Hazem El Masri, Willie Talau, Brent Sherwin, Travis Norton tries; Daryl Halligan 5 goals) beat WESTERN SUBURBS MAGPIES 12 (Barry Davis, Matt Spence tries; Brett Hodgson 2 goals). Scrums: Canterbury 12-7.  Penalties: Canterbury 9-3.  Crowd: 8,283.  Goalkickers: Canterbury - Halligan 5 from 5.  Wests - Hodgson 2 from 2.  Referee: Paul Simpkins.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 6 min: Wests 6-0 (Barry Davis try, Brett Hodgson goal).  13 min: 6-all (Willie Talau try, Daryl Halligan goal). 23 min: Canterbury 8-6 (Daryl Halligan goal).  27 min: Wests 12-8 (Matt Spence try, Brett Hodgson goal).  42 min: Canterbury 14-12 (Travis Norton try, Daryl Halligan goal).  70 min: Canterbury 20-12 (Brent Sherwin try, Daryl Halligan goal).  78 min: Canterbury 26-12 (Hazem El Masri try, Daryl Halligan goal).

Round 10: Bulldogs v Canberra Raiders Round 10
Canterbury Bulldogs 18
Canberra Raiders 14
Bruce Stadium
Report by Robert Dillon
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 14)
HOW IT WAS WON: The Bulldogs hit the lead with a Glen Hughes try in the 64th minute and managed to contain Canberra for the remaining 16 minutes, despite some close calls. The priceless boot of Daryl Halligan also played a large part in the result. Halligan kicked five goals from as many attempts, and his three first-half penalties proved the difference, with both sides scoring two tries.

HOW IT WAS LOST: Raiders coach Mal Meninga felt his forwards competed with Canterbury's rugged pack, but was critical of his team's decision-making. Both sides were guilty of poor ball control, and Canberra appeared to fall into the trap of playing catch-up football as the clock ticked down.

KEY PLAY: After a period of sustained pressure, Glen Hughes broke through two of Canberra's forwards to score near the posts and provide Halligan with a simple conversion. Showing the sort of mental toughness which characterised their charge through last year's play-offs, the Bulldogs refused to surrender their lead.

THEY SAID IT: "We had plenty of opportunities and didn't take them," lamented Meninga. "We probably should have won the game. Our decision-making out there was below par. "Everyone talks about Daryl Halligan and not giving away penalties in your territory. He just puts them over from everywhere, and 1 guess that was probably the difference when you look at the points'' "We defended very well in the second half for long periods when they were on our line," said Canterbury coach Steve Folkes. "But then we just played unprofessionally towards the end and gave them an opportunity to win the game which they shouldn't have had.'

HAPPY HOMECOMING: Bradley Clyde enjoyed sweet revenge over his former teammates, scoring a try and shouldering an enormous workload. "it was a game that 1 marked down on the calendar at the start of the year and it meant a great deal to me to make sure that 1 played well and that we won the game," he said.

SADDLE-SORE STUART: Ricky Stuart's return to Bruce Stadium was not so enjoyable.  Unavailable because of suspension, the veteran playmaker was forced to cycle halfway to canberra with Bulldogs conditioner Billy Johnstone.

BIG MAL ERUPTS: An unfortunate chair on the sideline bore the brunt of Meninga's disappointment.  When a promising passing movement broke down after the siren, the chair went flying after a close encounter with Meninga's right boot.

MORE WOES FOR MULLINS: After undergoing ankle and knee operations in the pre-season, and unexplained stomach cramps for the past month, the former Test fullback Brett Mullins sustained a head knock and groin strain last Sunday, limping from the field three times before finally calling it a day.

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 18 (Brad Clyde, Glen Hughes tries; Daryl Halligan 5 goals) beat CANBERRA RAIDERS 14 (David Furner, Mark McLinden tries; Luke Williamson 3 goals).  Scrums: 6-all.  Penalties: 5-all.  Crowd: 12,098.  Goalkickers: Canberra - Luke Williamson 3 from 3.  Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 5 from 5.  Referee: Steve Clark.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 9 min: Canterbury 2-0 (Daryl Halligan goal).  16 min: Canterbury 8-0 (Brad Clyde try, Daryl Halligan goal).  19 min: Canterbury 8-2 (Luke Williamson goal).  22 min: Canterbury 10-2 (Daryl Halligan goal).  27 min: Canterbury 10-8 (David Furner try, Luke Williamson goal).  30 min: Canterbury 12-8 (Daryl Halligan goal).  51 min: Canberra 14-12 (Mark McLinden try, Luke Williamson goal).  64 min: (Glen Hughes try, Daryl Halligan goal).

Round 10: Bulldogs v North Sydney Bears Round 11
Canterbury Bulldogs 34
North Sydney Bears 14
Stadium Australia
Report by Tony Megahey
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 15)
HOW IT WAS WON: The Bulldogs found the attacking flair to support their tenacity and perseverance, and six tries was the result against a side way down on confidence.  The forwards hammered Norths, allowing Ricky Stuart to find his best form of the season.  His passing and kicking game revived memories of his halcyon days with the Raiders.  Stuart took the line on more and Rod Silva supported for plenty of result on the edges.  The first-time combination of Stuart and Travis Norton meant creativity both sides of the ruck, and Silva and Hazem El Masri enjoyed space and time. The Bulldogs' kicking game was all quality, with Stuart snaring a couple of "40-20s" and a couple of tries resulting from close-range grubbers.

HOW IT WAS LOST: A long losing streak has eroded the Bears' confidence.  They led early but the heads dropped once the Bulldogs dug in and replied.  The Bears remain extremely vulnerable when defending in their quarter.  Stop-gap fullback Nigel Roy was left with too much to do by some bad misses in the front-line.

PREDICTION: The Bulldogs to press for the top three and knock over some favourites in coming weeks as the big guns feel the pinch of Origin representation.  Like a genuine Melbourne Cup stayer, the Bulldogs will gradually build up to their best as the serious stuff draws closer.  Stuart's combinations with his new team-mates are starting to click; Darren Smith and Bradley Clyde have played quality football for weeks; and a pack that dominated so many quality teams last season can only improve when captain Darren Britt returns from injury.  The Bears won't make the play-offs.

MYSTERY: Jason Taylor, who once boasted the most prolific boot in the game, is a victim of the lost form and confidence around him.   He was given a spell just before halftime last weekend, but Ben Ikin as an early receiver and kicker is not the answer.

PRESSURES: Coach Peter Louis who announced early he was calling it quits at the end of the season needs some wins as much as the officials at Norths.

LAST HOPES: The impending return of Adam Muir and specialist fullback Matt Seers is a flickering light at the end of a very long tunnel.

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 34 (Rod Silva 2, Hazem El Masri, Darren Smith, Bradley Clyde, Corey Hughes tries; Daryl Halligan 5 goals) beat NORTH SYDNEY BEARS 18 (Scott Pethybridge 2, Brett Dallas, Gary Larson tries; Jason Taylor goal).  Scrums: 8-all Penalties: Canterbury 5-3 Crowd: 8,425. Goalkickers: Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 5 from 7.  Norths - Jason Taylor 1 from 4.  Referee: Tim Mander

WHEN THEY SCORED: 9 min: Norths 4-0 (Scott Pethybridge try). 15 min: 4-all (Smith try).  27 min: Norths 8-4 (Larson try).   34 min Canterbury 10-8 (Corey Hughes try, Daryl Halligan goal).  37 min: Canterbury 16-8 (Bradley Clyde try, Daryl Halligan goal).  43 min: Canterbury 22-8 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal).  54 min: Canterbury 28-8 (Hazem El Masri try, Daryl Halligan goal).  67 min: Canterbury 28-14 (Scott Pethybridge try, Jason Taylor goal).  72 min: Canterbury 34-14 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal).  76 min: Canterbury 34-18 (Brett Dallas try).

Round 12: Bulldogs v Auckland Warriors Round 12
Canterbury Bulldogs 28
Auckland Warriors 24
Stadium Australia
Report by Jim Marr
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 16)
HOW IT WAS WON: Strong games from Barry Ward, Troy Stone, Dennis Scott and Travis Norton were important, along with the enthusiastic two-try debut of Jamie Feeney who looks a real goer, but those factors paled against the influence of referee Paul Simpkins.  He didn't make any outrageous calls, just a string of 50-50 decisions that flowed inexorably in the one direction. They were a big reason why ihe visitors had to churn through 100 more tackles than their opponents.

HOW IT WAS LOST: The defence and commitment of the makeshift Auckiand combination were significantly better than on recent trans-Tasman trips, but they still make errors that cost them dearly.   With the weight of penalties and possession threatening to crush them they couldn't afford to kick out on the full from halfway nor concede a gift penalty for getting in front at a tap restart.  They did both those things in the second spell and paid the price.

YOUNG MAN'S GAME: Feeney celebrated his first-grade debut with a double and highly-promising Warriors teenager Ali Lauiti'iti also crossed twice. Carl Doherty, just months into his league career, performed encouragingly in his debut run-on match in the absence of Matthew Ridge.

TOUGHENING UP: The four minutes just prior to halftime must have provided Warriors coach Mark Graham with some encouragement.   Two Ricky Stuart grubbers into the in-goal and a penalty at the end of another set saw Canterbury on attack for 24 consecutive tackles but they could find no way through a better organised defence.

HARD MARKER: Steve Folkes refused to get carried away with the efforts of either Ricky Stuart, whose short-kicking earned several repeat sets, or Barry Ward who really took it to the Aucklanders over the latter stages.

"Our kicking game was off today and I think Ricky Stuart would be the first to concede that," Folkes said, before addressing himself to whether he had been pleased with the contribution of his solid No. 8.  "Not in the first half, although he certainly turned things around in the second half.  I just said to him 'you probably doubled your workrate and tripled the quality'."

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 24 (Jamie Feeney 2, Steven Hughes, Corey Hughes tries; Daryl Halligan 6 goals) beat AUCKLAND WARRIORS 24 (Ali Lauiti'iti 2, Stacey Jones, Shane Endacott tries; Carl Doherty 4 goals). Scrums: Canterbury 8-7. Penalties: Canterbury 9-2. Crowd: 9062. Goalkickers: Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 6 from 7. Auckland - Carl Doherty 4 from 4.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 12 min: Auckland 6-0 (Ali Lauiti'iti try, Carl Doherty goal). 17 min: Auckland 6-4 (Jamie Feeney try). 20 min: Canterbury 10-6 (Steven Hughes try, Daryl Halligan goal). 24 min: Canterbury 16-6 (Corey Hughes try, Daryl Halligan goal). 29 min: Canterbury 16-12 (Stacey Jones try, Carl Doherty goal). 40 min: Canterbury 18-12 (Daryl Halligan goal). 43 min: Canterbury 20-12 (Daryl Halligan goal). 48 min: Canterbury 20-18 (Shane Endacott try, Carl Doherty goal). 56 min: Canterbury 22-18 (Daryl Halligan goal). 60 min: Canterbury 28-18 (Jamie Feeney try, Daryl Halligan goal). 72 min: Canterbury 28-24 (Ali Lauiti'iti try, Carl Doherty goal).

Round 13: Bulldogs v Manly Sea-Eagles Round 13
Canterbury Bulldogs 20
Manly Sea-Eagles 4

Stadium Australia
Report By David Middleton
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 17)
HOW IT WAS WON: The old Bulldog style came to the fore. The brutal defence, the methodical grinding away at the opposition - it was enough to bring a smile to Steve Folkes' face. After leading 8-4 midway through the second half, Travis Norton and Rod Silva combined to put the Sea Eagles to sleep with two superbly constructed tries.

HOW IT WAS LOST: The departure of four players, including play-making half-back Adam Brown with concussion, set the Sea Eagles back on their heels. Manly scored the first try and looked competitive while Brown was calling the shots, but as the match wore on a spate of handling errors and wrong options contributed to the loss.

ORIGIN MATERIAL: Canterbury lock Travis Norton showed he would not he out of place in a Queensland jersey with a superb display. He is a player with few deficiencies and he was already in the running for man-of-the-match honours before he laid on two tries for fullback Rod Silva late in the game.

HE DOES IT EVERY WEEK: Without Geoff Toovey, Manly could have been staring at a cricket score. The Manly skipper was a marvel. His scything tackles on steamrolling forwards like Barry Ward halted Canterbury's momentum repeatedly. The Sea Eagles' stats men counted 44 tackles, and the territory he gained from dummy half kept his team in the game longer than they probably deserved.

OLYMPIC KENNEL: They didn't build Stadium Australia for Canterbury's benefit, but you could be excused for thinking so. With an unbeaten record from six matches at the ground and increased attendances of almost 140 percent on last year at Belmore, it's little wonder the Bulldogs look right at home.

TRAVELLIN' BLUES: While the Bulldogs celebrate an undefeated home record, Manly have yet to come up with a win "on the road". Saturday night's loss was their seventh from as many starts.

UP AND COMERS: With two of their most experienced campaigners in Bradley Clyde and Darren Britt watching from the sidelines, rookie forwards Jamic Feeney, Dennis Scott and Adam Peek stepped up to the mark and turned in fine displays.

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 20 (Rod Silva 2, Steven Hughes tries; Daryl Halligan 4 goals) beat MANLY SEA-EAGLES 4 (Albert Torrens try). Scrums: Canterbury 7-5. Penalties: Manly 7-3. Crowd: 15,264. Goalkickers: Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 4 from 4. Manly - Adam Brown 0 from 2.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 7 min: Manly 4-0 (Albert Torrens try). 32 min: Canterbury 6-4 (Steven Hughes try, Daryl Halligan goal). 45 min: Canterbury 8-4 (Daryl Halligan goal). 56 min: Canterbury 14-4 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal). 72 min: Canterbury 20-4 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal).

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