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Canterbury Bulldogs 19
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Report by JIM MARR,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 18)
|HOW IT WAS WON:
Canterbury had a bloke caled Ricky Stuart in their side and Souths didn't. The little
general might not have been in vintage touch over recent months, but he retains the skills
and football smarts that can swing tight matches, and, just as importantly, the confidence
to use them. With just seven minutes remaining and Souths up 18-12, Stuart took the odds
to punting a 20m restart 50m downfield where it found touch and earned his team the scrum
feed. Rod Silva crossed on the following six for Daryl Halligan to level the scores. Three
minutes later it was Stuart who let rip with a 45-metre field-goal attempt. It landed
smack on top of the crossbar and dropped over for one point that was worth two.
REACTION: The nearest man on the ground, Souths' star Tim
Brasher, was flabbergasted. "I saw it coming at me and 1 thought - oh well, it's
going under. When I saw it hit the crossbar and go over I couldn't believe it,"
Brasher said. "The boys reckoned it was dipping and it sort of dipped up again.
That's almost ghostly, some sort of extra-terrestrial thing."
HOW IT WAS LOST: The Rabbitohs played some
very good attacking football, especially off halves Craig Wing and Wes Patten, but they
also made the sort of mistakes a hungry Canterbury outfit feeds off. Patten did slick work
but was responsible for some of the errors, never more so than when he denied his side a
last-gasp shot at an equaliser by going for too much ground on a penalty and failing to
find touch. A little earlier, a simple draw and pass from big lan Rubin could have seen
Julian O'Neill sew it up, but, instead, he took the tackle, provoking coach Craig Coleman
to comment: "Front-rowers - they don't think too much."
TOP-NOTCHERS: Two individuals stamped their
class on this match and they both came from losing ranks. Coleman claimed that in a couple
of years Wing would be regarded in the same light as the Brad Fittlers and Laurie Daleys
of the sport, and, on last Sunday's evidence few would have argued the toss. Brasher was
outstanding on attack and defence, indicating that he is ready to put the David
Peachey-Robbie Ross argument into the "so what" basket.
MASTERSTROKE: Apparently posted by Tony Iro,
ball in hand, and Justin Loomans, appearing to his right, Bulldogs winger Daryl Halligan
came in on the ball carrier then somehow got up to fingertip the pass back to Travis
Norton. It was a neat piece of defence that saved a try and almost certainly the match.
BIG CALLS: Controversial referee Paul
Simpkins was in the spotlight again, calling Matt Parsons back for a ball that seemed to
have travelled backwards, then, less than a minute later, waving on a big Brett Sherwin
forward pass that laid on a try for Steven Hughes.
Canterbury 19 (Steven Hughes, Shane
Marteene, Rod Silva tries; Daryl Halligan 3 goals; Ricky Stuart field goal) beat South
Sydney 18 (Justin Loomans 2, Wes Patten tries; Julian O'Neill 3 goals). Scrums:
Souths 6-2. Penalties: 5-all. Crowd: 16,156. Goalkickers:
Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 3 from 4. Souths - Julian O'Neill 3 from 4.
WHEN THEY SCORED: 12 min: Souths 2-0 (Julian
O'Neill goal). 15 min: Souths 6-0 (Wes Patten try). 20 min: Souths 12-0 (Justin Loomans
try, Julian O'Neill goal). 28 min: Souths 12-2 (Daryl Halligan goal). 32 min: Souths 12-8
(Steven Hughes try, Daryl Halligan goal). 48 min: 12-all (Shane Marteene try). 56 min:
Souths 18-12 (Justin Loomans try, Julian O'Neill goal). 73 min: 18-all (Rod Silva try,
Daryl Halligan goal). 76 rnin: Canterbury 19-18 (Ricky Stuart field goal).
INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - Darren Britt,
Steve Reardon, Adam Peek, Barry Berrigan. Souths - Wayne Richards, lan Rubin, Troy
Slattery, Christian Kerisiano.
Canterbury Bulldogs 18
Parramatta Eels 16
Report by DAVID MIDDLETON,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 19)
Canterbury's toughness, the brilliance of Rod Silva, a good slice of luck and the benefit
of Brian Grant's first-half howler.
FACTORS: The failure of Dean Pay and Luke Burt to pounce on loose balls in the
Canterbury in-goal, a high mistake rate and the decision that went against them when
Schifcofske was taken out.
TALKING POINT: In the 32nd minute,
Canterbury forward Steve Price misjudged a Ricky Stuart bomb and steam-rolled Parramatta's
Clinton Schifcofske, who was positioning himself to take the kick. The ball landed many
THE RESULT: Parramatta knocked on the loose
ball, Grant ruled a scrum with the feed and loose head to Canterbury. A couple of rucks
later, Shane Marteene scored.
THE AFTERMATH: Parramatta captain Dean Pay
questioned the referee after Halligan attempted the conversion, but Grant explained to him
that Price was entitled to challenge for the ball. The decision mystified Parramatta,
baffled the crowd and stunned the huge television audience.
WEARY WARRIORS: Jason Hetherington and Jason
Smith withdrew from the game before kick off following 80 gruelling minutes of Origin
football last Wednesday night. Darren Smith, Michael Vella and Steve Price were fit enough
to back up for their second game in 48 hours. Smith, who admitted his effort for
Canterbury after the first Origin game was sub-standard, was determined to turn in a
strong display. He was probably the best on the park.
SLICK SILVA: He may be 31, but Rod Silva
remains a game-breaker of outstanding quality. Behind 10-8 after David Kidwell scored a
strong try for Parramatta early in the second half, Canterbury needed an injection of
class to get them back on top. Silva delivered with interest. He scored his 11th try of
the season in the 55th minute, and five minutes later, he sliced the Eels open out wide
before off-loading a remarkable pass for Steve Hughes to score.
THE NEW BULLDOGS: Only six players who
appeared in the Bulldogs' line-up last Friday night played in their miraculous 32-20 win
over the Eels in last September's grand-final qualifier.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: "We're on the
lookout for a new kicker". Canterbury coach Steve Folkes, dripping with sarcasm after
Daryl Halligan's rare "off-night".
Canterbury 18 (Shane Marteene, Rod Siiva,
Steven Hughes tries; Daryl Halligan 3 goals) beat Parramatta 16 David
Penna, David Kidwell, Nathan Hindmarsh tries; Luke Burt, Clinton Schifcofske goals). Scrums:
7-all. Penalties: 4-all. Crowd: 22,062. Goalkickers:
Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 3 from 6. Parramatta - Luke Burt 1 from 3, Clinton Schifcofske
1 from 1.
WHEN THEY SCORED: 8 min: Canterbury 2-0
(Daryl Halligan goal). 14 min: Canterbury 4-0 (Daryl Halligan goal). 17 rnin: Parramatta
6-4 (David Penna try, Burt goal). 33 min: Canterbury 8- 6 (Shane Marteene try). 45 min:
Parrarnatta 10-8 (David Kidwell try). 55 min: Canterbury 12-10 (Rod Silva try). 60 min:
Canterbury 18-10 (Steven Hughes try, Daryl Halligan goal). 71 min: Canterbury 18-16
(Nathan Hindmarsh try, Clinton Schifcofske goal).
INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - Barry Ward, Jamie
Feeney, Barry Berrigan, Adarn Peek. Parramatta - Jason Bell, Mark Tookey, Michael Hodgson,
Auckland Warriors 30
Canterbury Bulldogs 10
Report by CHRIS RATTUE,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 20)
|HOW IT WAS WON:
Some key performances from Auckland, notably Stacey Jones and John Sirnon in the halves,
were crucial. But from start to finish, Auckland showed more desperation and enthusiasm
across the park.
HOW IT WAS LOST:
Canterbury didn't do anything particularly wrong, but they didn't do much right, either.
It was a lacklustre effort which suggested that once you take players like Price,
Hetherington and Smith out of the line-up, the fizz goes out of the bottle. Then again,
after seven straight wins, maybe the Bulldogs became a touch complacent. Their attack was
predictable and did not look like it belonged to a title chasing side.
SIMON SAYS: John Simon had hardly arrived in
Auckland and he got the job of calling heads or tails and telling his new teammates what
to do around the field. Coach Mark Graham was virtually forced to give Jones the captaincy
after Matthew Ridge did everything but write a note to the judiciary asking for a couple
of months holiday. There were just no other genuine captaincy candidates, especially as
Terry Herrnansson is doing his work in increasingly short and inconsistent bursts. But
there are lost Japanese soldiers still fighting the war in jungles you have never heard of
who know that captaincy and Stacey Jones just don't go together at this point in his
career. The brilliant Kiwi halfback emphasised that with a great display without the
burden of leadership.
PARTNERS: The arrival of John Simon has
finally given Auckland a class five-eighth who can take on the line, put in decent
tactical kicks, and is a pretty tidy defender to boot. The combination with Jones seems to
have gelled immediately, although history suggests it is folly to bet on any earth
shattering developments in the Warriors' lineup. Still, Jones-Simon sure looks promising.
Auckland 30 (Nigel Vagana 2, Joe Vagana,
Odell Manuel, Sean Hoppe, Stacey Jones tries; John Simon 3 goals) beat Canterbury
10 (Darren Britt, Daryl Halligan tries; Daryl Halligan goal). Scrums:
Auckland 7-6. Penalties: Canterbury 5-4. Goalkickers:
Auckland - Carl Doherty 0 from 3, John Simon 3 from 4. Canterbury: Daryl Halligan 1 from
2. Crowd: 9,500.
WHEN THEY SCORED: 7 min: Auckland 4-0 (Joe
Vagana try). 12 min: Auckland 8-0 (Odell Manuel try). 17 min: Auckland 12-0 (Nigel Vagana
try). 21 min: Auckland 12-4 (Darren Britt try). 30 min: Auckland 14-4 (John Simon goal).
45 min: Auckland 20-4 (Sean Hoppe try, John Simon goal). 49 min: Auckland 20-10 (Daryl
Halligan try, goal). 53 min: Auckland 26-10 (Nigel Vagana try, John Simon goal). 75 min:
Auckland 30-10 (Stacey Jones try).
INTERCHANGE: Auckland - Jerry Seuseu, Ali
Lauiti-iti, Cliff Beverley, Shane Endacott. Canterbury - Barry Ward, Jamie Feeney, Adam
Peek, Brad Sherwin.
SIN BIN: Barry Berrigan (Canterbury).
Canberra Raiders 18
Canterbury Bulldogs 2
Report by DARREN HADLAND,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 21)
|HOW IT WAS WON:
Canberra pitched their game around a fast moving defence designed to take time and space
away from Canterbury playmaker Ricky Stuart. Youngsters Mark McLinden, Andrew
McFadden and Brett Finch continually raced out of the line to force Stuart's hand, and
Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes conceded his team lost its way at times. In a grim
defensive contest, two tries from kicks - Ken Nagas from a McLinden grubber kick, and then
McLinden from a Brandon Pearson bomb - was enough.
IRONMEN: The efforts of David Furner and Ben Kennedy
(Canberra) and Darren Smith and Steve Price (Canterbury) to back up after the gruelling
Origin decider were a tribute to the endurance of the modern footballer. However it
is undeniable that the leading contenders have been thrown out of kilter by Origin
commitments over the past six weeks. "It will be nice to get some structure
back into things; run out with the same team for a few weeks," offered Folkes.
MAC-MANIA: It seems everyone at Canberra
points to Andrew McFadden and Mark McLinden as the future of the Raiders. However,
17-year-old Brett Finch might end up being the best of the club's young guns. For someone
still at school, he plays with great vision and touch, possessing the type of organising
skills that the club needs in its post-Stuart era.
TURNING POINT: Unheralded winger Rod Jenson
came up with the play of the game, with a 40- metre chase and tackle on Bulldogs'
interchange player Jamie Feeney. McLinden harassed Travis Norton at the play-the-ball,
raising eyebrows within the Bulldogs' camp about its legality... but it was Norton
penalised for passing off the ground. The Raiders swept the ball up field and Nagas
scored. With the scores locked at 2-all after a 60- minute arm-wrestle, the first score
was always likely to be decisive.
Canberra 18 (Jason Croker, Mark McLinden,
Ken Nagas tries; David Furner 2, Brandon Pearson goals) defeated Canterbury 2
(Daryl Halligan goal). Scrums: Canterbury 5-3. Penalties:
Canberra 7-4. Crowd: 12,811. Goalkickers:
Canberra - David Furner 2 from 3, Brandon Pearson 1 from 1. Canterbury - Daryl
Halligan 1 from 2.
WHEN THEY SCORED: 4 min: Canterbury 2-0
(Daryl Halligan goal). 36 min: 2-all (Brandon Pearson goal). 61 min: Canberra 6-2 (Ken
Nagas try). 65 min: Canberra 12-2 (Mark McLinden try; David Furner goal). 72 min: (Jason
Croker try; David Furner goal).
INTERCHANGE: Canberra - Anthony Brann, Luke
Davico, Brett Finch, Brandon Pearson. Canterbury - Jamie Feeney, Adam Peek, Robert Relf,
Canterbury Bulldogs 14
Cronulla Sharks 6
Report by GLENN JACKSON,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 22)
|HOW IT WAS WON: The
Bulldogs looked hungrier from the outset, capitalising on limited opportunities for their
three tries. With halfback rnaestro Ricky Stuart in rare form, they discovered an
attacking breed of football which has been in hibernation this season. As always, their
defence did the rest.
HOW IT WAS LOST:
The Sharks are lacking in confidence, and it showed. They dominated the opening sets and
were in a positive frame of mind, but when the Bulldogs crossed first through Hazem El
Masri after a superb flick pass by Steven Hughes, things got gradually worse. With the
exception of Martin Lang and David Peachey, the Sharks struggled to get out of their own
territory. When they did, they seemed to panic and couldn't finish off the good work.
TURNING POINT: Stuart's second try, five
minutes after the Sharks had clawed back into the game through Tirn Maddison's try.
In a carbon copy of his first effort, Stuart bamboozled the Sharks' defence with a big
dummy and threaded his way over the line. The Bulldogs, arguably the finest
final-quarter team in the competition, were never going to surrender the lead from there.
GAMEBREAKER: Stuart controlled the game with
aplomb last Sunday and most of the Bulldogs' good work was his doing. He also scored
two tries - the man himself reckoned the last time he did that was in his first top-grade
game for the Raiders, in 1988. "I scored three once in the under-8s," he
HOOKED: Bulldog hooker Jason Hetherington
earned high praise from his coach Steve Folkes. "You don't appreciate his worth until
he's not there," Folkes said. "I've played against (recently retired Newcastle
rake) Steve Walters and I've watched Jason Hetherington for a number of years and I don't
think he's too far behind him."
BLOW THAT WHISTLE: Talkback radio was
dominated by the subject of referees last weekend, and in particular how penalty counts
had increased dramatically in the space of a week. Some believed the refs had been
told to be stricter in their policing of certain rules. For his part, Tim Mander did
his bit to prove those suggestions were unfounded. He blew the first penalty in the
17th minute in an excellent display. "I thought he did a good job, dare I say
it," offered beaten coach John Lang. "You can't get fined for that, can you? Do
you get a $10,000 bonus?"
THEY SAID IT: "You can bash the tripe
out of them (the Sharks), but they keep rallying and coming again," Folkes offered.
"You tend to come out of the game with a fair few bruises.'
Canterbury 14 (Ricky Stuart 2, Hazem El
Masri tries; Daryl Halligan goal) beat Cronulla Sharks 6 (Tim Maddison
try; Mitch Healey goal). Scrums: Sharks 8-4. Penalties:
Sharks 5-3. Crowd: 20,173. Goalkickers: Canterbury -
Daryl Halligan 1 from 3. Sharks - Mitch Healey 1 from 1.
WHEN THEY SCORED: 12 min: Canterbury 6-0
(Hazem El Masri try, Daryl Halligan goal). 23 min: Canterbury 10-0 (Ricky Stuart try). 52
min: Canterbury 10-6 (Tim Maddison try, Mitch Healey goal). 57 min: Canterbury 14-6 (Ricky
INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - Dennis Scott, Adam
Peek, Robert Relf, Brent Sherwin. Sharks - Tirn Maddison, Nathan Long, Sam Isemonger,
Melbourne Storm 24
Canterbury Bulldogs 20
Report by GLENN JACKSON,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 23)