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Bulldogs Match Reports


Round 14: Bulldogs v South Sydney Rabbitohs Round 14
Canterbury Bulldogs 19
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Stadium Australia
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.

Round 5: Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels Round 15
Canterbury Bulldogs 18
Parramatta Eels 16

Parramatta Stadium
Report by DAVID MIDDLETON,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 19)
WINNING FACTORS: Canterbury's toughness, the brilliance of Rod Silva, a good slice of luck and the benefit of Brian Grant's first-half howler.

LOSING 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 metres away.

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, Justin Morgan.

Round 16: Bulldogs v Auckland Warriors Round 16
Auckland Warriors 30
Canterbury Bulldogs 10

Ericsson Stadium
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).

Round 17: Bulldogs v Canberra Raiders Round 17
Canberra Raiders 18
Canterbury Bulldogs 2

Stadium Australia
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, Dennis Scott.

Round 18: Bulldogs v Cronulla Sharks Round 18
Canterbury Bulldogs 14
Cronulla Sharks 6
Stadium Australia
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 recalled.

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 Stuart try).

INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - Dennis Scott, Adam Peek, Robert Relf, Brent Sherwin. Sharks - Tirn Maddison, Nathan Long, Sam Isemonger, Blaine Stanley.

Round 19: Bulldogs vs Melbourne Storm Round 19
Melbourne Storm 24
Canterbury Bulldogs 20
Stadium Australia
Report by GLENN JACKSON,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 23)
 

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