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Bulldogs Match Reports


Round 20: Bulldogs v North Queensland Cowboys Round 20
Canterbury Bulldogs 30
North Qld Cowboys 18

Dairy Farmers Stadium
Report by JOHN MCCOY,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 24)
HOW IT WAS WON: Although the scores were locked for much of the first half, there was never any danger of Canterbury losing the match. The difference was in the Bulldogs' ability to capitalise on opportunities, scoring three tries from their first four line breaks.

HOW IT WAS LOST: Same old story - North Queensland squandered their chances with basic handling and defensive errors. Coach Tim Sheens' match summary could apply to almost any Cowboys game. "We made silly mistakes and are just not consistent enough to be a quality side," he said.

TURNING POINT: With Canterbury leading 18-12 in the 53rd minute, Noa Nadruku appeared to score from a Noel Goldthorpe grubber, but video referee John Yard ruled there had been the faintest of knock-ons. The Bulldogs responded by scoring a try only minutes later and the game was as good as over.

SETTING THE PACE: Canterbury might have the reputation of lacking genuine pace, but when Rod Silva and Hazem El Masri are given room to attack they can match it with the best. The pair combined brilliantly throughout and came up with two tries apiece.

DON'T BELIEVE IT: Daryl Halligan actually missed a relatively easy shot at goal!

UP THERE, CAZALY: Is Channel Seven's Mark of the Year competition restricted to AFL matches? If not, then Damien Smith could he a front-runner for this year's award.  In one of the most spectacular takes in Rugby League history, Smith climbed on to the shoulders of Canterbury's Brent Sherwin to pull in a Goldthorpe bomb and plunge over for a try.  There was some doubt that he had grounded the ball correctly, but the screamer of a mark deserved the video referee's approval.

HE SAID IT: "I'm always worried. I think they just want to make me sweat right to the last in every match," said a relieved Canterbury coach Steve Folkes.

Canterbury 30 (Rod Silva 2, Hazem El Masri 2, Dennis Scott tries; Daryl Halligan 5 goals) beat North Queensland 18 (Smith 2, Noa Nadruku tries; Noel Goldthorpe 3 goals). Scrums: North Queensland 7-6. Penalties: Canterbury 7-6. Crowd: 15,080. Goalkickers: Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 5 from 6. North Queensland - Noel Goldthorpe 3 from 4.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 6 min: North Queensland 6-0 (Damien Smith try, Noel Goldthorpe goal). 13 min: 6-all (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal). 19 min: Canterbury 12-6 (Hazem El Masri try, Daryl Halligan goal). 25 min: 12-all (Noa Nadruku try, Noel Goldthorpe goal). 29 min: Canterbury 16-12 (Rod Silva try). 35 min: Canterbury 18-12 (Daryl Halligan goal). 58 min: Canterbury 24-12 (Hazem El Masri try, Daryl Halligan goal). 68 min: Canterbury 24-18 (Smith try, Noel Goldthorpe goal). 72 min: Canterbury 30-18 (Dennis Scott try, Daryl Halligan goal).

INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - Dennis Scott, Steve Reardon, Robert Relf, Brent Sherwin. North Queensland - Paul Green, Glen Murphy, Mark Shipway, Jody Gall.

Round 21: Bulldogs v Western Suburbs Magpies Round 21
Canterbury Bulldogs 56

Western Suburbs Magpies 16
Campbelltown Stadium
Report by TONY MEGAHEY,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 25)
HOW IT WAS WON: A few anxious moments early saw Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes and his staff squirm in their seats. Canterbury looked like they were still asleep on the bus when the referee whistled 'time on'.  It was 12-all early, but the old story of one side in contention against another with no incentive eventually applied.  When the Bulldogs turned the screws, the Magpies were again outclassed.  Maybe the final scoreline wasn't a true reflection as the Magpies did compete for lengthy periods, but once the Bulldogs settled into a pattern and started to complete their sets the score exploded.

HOW IT WAS LOST: After a start that had the locals cheering, the Magpies finished on the end of an embarrassing scoreline. The McGuinness brothers made a couple of early breaks, but it was only a matter of time before the Bulldogs' resilience wore the opposition down.  Wests were too small up front to match it with the Bulldogs.  The Magpies can compete when Harvey Howard and John Skandalis offer some size and thrust, but both were missing last Saturday.

TURNING POINT: There were a couple of key moments early on when the Magpies made breaks but panic finishing let the Bulldogs off the hook.  Canterbury steadied and then hit back with a couple of tries that broke Wests' resolve.

RECORDS: Daryl Halligan's 28 points equalled his best effort in a first-grade match, and his 10 goals from as many attempts was the third time he had achieved this feat in the top grade.

PERCENTAGE BOOST:  It is a joke how important finals percentages for contenders can be affected when teams strike Wests at their present low level.

OBSERVATION: Old-timers at the game, like Wests champion Keith Holman, cannot recall a finer goalkicker than Halligan.

HARD TO PLEASE: Bulldog coach Steve Folkes was far from impressed despite the massive scoreline. Folkes was looking to bigger occasions and knows the Bulldogs can't get away with similar deficiencies in the finals.

SUFFERING IN SILENCE: Magpie coach Torn Raudonikis found plenty of fault with the referee, but the final scoreiine hardly made it appropriate for him to "blow up'.

LOCKER ROOM JOKE: The referee was against Wests and there was a hint of a forward pass in the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th Bulldog tries.

Canterbury 56 (Daryl Halligan 2, Robert Relf 2, Hazem El Masri, Darren Smith, Steve Price, Brad Clyde, Travis Norton tries; Daryl Halligan 10 goals) beat Wests 16 (Matt Fuller, Justin Brooker, Adam Donovan tries; Ken McGuinness, Dane Dorahy goals). Scrums: Wests 6-5. Penalties: Canterbury 7-2.  Crowd: 8,267. Goalkickers: Canterbury - Halligan 10 from 10. Wests - Ken McGuinness 1 from 2, Dane Dorahy 1 from 1.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 7 min: Canterbury 6-0 (Halligan try, goal). 18 min: Canterbury 12-0 (El Masri try, Haillgan goal).  22 min: Canterbury 12-6 (Brooker try, McGuinness goal). 24 min: 12-all (Fuller try, Dorahy goal). 31 min: Canterbury 18-12 (Relf try, Halligan goal). 39 min: Canterbury 24-12 (Darren Smith try, Halligan goal). min: Canterbury 26-12 (Halligan goal). 49 min: Canterbury 26-16 (Donovan try). 67 rnin: Canterbury 32-16 (Clyde try, Halligan goal). 72 min: Canterbury 38-16 (Halligan try, goal). 74 min: Canterbury 44-16 (Norton try, Halligan goal). 77 min: Canterbury 50-16 (Relf try, Halligan goal). 79 min: Canterbury 56-16 (Price, Halligan goal).

INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - Dennis Scott, Steve Reardon, Robert Relf, Brent Sherwin. Wests - Adam Bristow, Paul Jeffries, Dane Dorahy, Ray Cashmere.

Round 22: Bulldogs v North Sydney Bears Round 22
Canterbury Bulldogs 30
North Sydney Bears 18

Stadium Australia
Report by JIM MARR,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 26)
HOW IT WAS WON: When you look up the weekend roster and see you've drawn the shortest straw in the office - Canterbury and North Sydney in front of 12,000 people in a stadium that holds more than 100,000 - excitement is not the first reaction. For 40 minutes, this one ran precisely to schedule then, wonder of wonders, Norths got their act together and started to play a bit of footy. Canterbury, who had enjoyed a first-half saloon passage through Norths right-hand defence, were, not unnaturally, the people at Stadium Australia most perturbed by this unscheduled turn. It took a nifty piece of individualism from the impressive Hazem El Masri, very late in the journey, to get them home.

HOW IT WAS LOST:  Norths cruised, backwards, to a 24-point deficit before half-time on their usual mixture of unforced errors and bad luck. After a first-class rev-up from coach Keiran Dempsey they came out and played some of their best Rugby League in recent weeks. Dempsey suggested that 3.15pm kick- offs and four-quarter matches might be introduced in the interests of his charges but isn't holding his breath on an NRL green light.

LEADING THE WAY: Matt Seers is right back to his very best and in a difficult first 40 minutes he was one Bear to stand up and growl. By the end of the match he had pulled off four try-saving tackles on Canterbury players who had found themselves in open territory. The game had barely started when he flattened Ricky Stuart and knocked the ball clear to short-circuit imminent danger from a tap penalty. He was still performing heroics near the end.

DESTROYERS: El Masri and Darren Smith, shifted from the back row to the centres to cover injury, did most of the first-half damage. El Masri performed one piece of brilliance to set Smith up for a try but, strangely, the manoeuvre, ultra-confident sleight of hand straight off the touch pitch, contained the seeds of his team's later difficulties.

SOFT OPTIONS: Canterbury appeared to be doing it so easy that they lost their tough, no-nonsense approach and descended into some frivolity that eventually got them into bother.  "Everyone wanted to be ball-players and we probably made more mistakes today than in our last three games put together," said their coach Steve Folkes. "The most positive thing to come out of it is that we have the bye next week. We can have a week giving little thought to football and, hopefully, come back with a vastly different attitude."

Canterbury 30 (Hazem El Masri 2, Darren Smith 2, Rod Silva tries; Daryl Halligan 5 goals) beat Norths 18 (Michael Buettner 2, Brett Dallas, Wade Horder tries; Jason Taylor goal). Scrums: Norths 8-6. Penalties: Canterbury 4-1. Crowd: 12,415. Goalkickers: Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 5 from 5. Norths - Taylor 1 from 4.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 1 min: Canterbury 6-0 (El Masri try, Daryl Halligan goal). 17 min: Canterbury 12-0 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal). 25 min: Canterbury 18-0 (Darren Smith try, Daryl Halligan goal). 38 min: Canterbury 24-0 (Darren Smith try, Daryl Halligan goal). 45 min: Canterbury 24-4 (Michael Buettner try). 50 min: Canterbury 24-10 (Michael Buettner try, Jason Taylor goal). 56 min: Canterbury 24-14 (Brett Dallas try). 66 rnin: Canterbury 24-18 (Wade Horder try). 78 min: Canterbury 30-18 (Hazem El Masri try, Daryl Halligan goal).

INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - Steve Reardon, Robert Relf, Brent Sherwin, David Thompson. Norths - Paul Stringer, Mark O'Meiey, Dane Morgan, David Hicks.

Round 24: Bulldogs vs Penrith Panthers Round 24
Canterbury Bulldogs 22
Penrith Panthers 22

Stadium Australia
Report by DAVID PAGE,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 28)
HOW IT WAS DRAWN: Despite having nothing to play for, Penrith overcame major injury setbacks to earn a moral victory over a Bulldog outfit which lacked spark. Ryan Girdler and Craig Gower stood out in a gutsy away performance by the Panthers.

LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE: It's a good idea to be in your seat for kick-off when Ryan Girdier is playing at Stadium Australia.  Girdler laid on a Blues try in the opening 40 seconds of Origin 2 in June, and repeated the dose last Sunday when he sliced through on Penrith's opening attack to put winger Robbie Beckett over. Girdler was outstanding, setting up a second try with a great pass under pressure and scoring the final one himself.

EARLY EXITS: Steve Carter and Brad Drew both suffered knee injuries which have ruled them out for the season. Injury to Craig Greenhill had the Panthers down to one sub, but the brave front-rower received a painkilling needle and battled on. Under the circumstances, Penrith would have been excused for throwing in the towel, but they showed great courage to go strongly for 80 minutes.

COSTLY GAFFES: As a tense second half unfolded, both teams paid dearly for handling errors.  Penrith snatched a 22-18 lead when Hazem El Masri failed to clean up a kick, but Beckett returned the favour when he muffed a routine catch off a 20-metre restart from Nigel Gaffey, allowing Willie Talau to crash over.

COMEBACK: Corey Hughes' recall to first grade livened up when the game became deadlocked at 22-all. The youngest Hughes bombed a good scoring chance when he dropped an inside pass from Ricky Stuart and moments later he was held up over the line.

BUSY: John Cross was Penrith's unsung hero.   He worked tirelessly and did a good job at hooker when Drew was forced from the field.

THEY SAID IT: "One point was probably more than we deserved", was Canterbury coach Steve Folkes' frant assessment.   "They were real gutsy.  They had a lot of reasons to hold up their hands, but they toughed it out - I'm real proud of them," said Penrith coach Royce Simmons.

Canterbury 22 (Hazem El Masri, Steve Price, Brad Clyde, Willie Talau tries; Daryl Halligan 3 goals) drew with Penrith 22 (Robbie Beckett, Ryan Girdler, Andrew Hinson, Sid Domic tries; Ryan Girdler 3 goals).   Scrums: Canterbury 4-3. Penalties: Penrith: 4-3.  Crowd: 15,236.   Goalkickers: Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 3 from 5.  Penrith - Ryan Girdler 3 from 4.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 2 min: Penrith 6-0 (Robbie Beckett try, Ryan Girdler goal).  11 min: 6-all (Hazem El Masri try, Daryl Halligan goal).  14 min: Canterbury 8-6 (Daryl Halligan goal).  18 min: Canterbury 12-6 (Steve Price try).  25 min: Canterbury 12-10 (Sid Domic try) 40 min: Penrith 16-12 (Andrew Hinson try, Ryan Girdler goal).  43 min: (Brad Clyde try, Daryl Halligan goal). 49 min: Penrith 22-18 (Ryan Girdler try, goal).  61 min 22-all (Willie Talau try).

INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - Troy Stone, Steve Reardon, Robert Relf, Glen Hughes.  Penrith - Sid Domic (Steve Carter started), Mark Geyer (Brad Drew started), Nigel Gaffey, Tony Puletua.

Round 25: Bulldogs v Balmain Tigers Round 25
Canterbury Bulldogs 20
Balmain Tigers

Stadium Australia
Report by GLENN JACKSON,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 29)
HOW IT WAS WON: Defence flew out the window as both sides enjoyed saloon passages to the tryline. The match came down to whose line would crack the least, and that honour went to the Bulldogs, although the holes in a normally rock-solid defence were enough to cause coach Steve Folkes major concerns.

HOW IT WAS LOST: The Tigers started and ended well, but fell apart at the seams in between. They scored the first two tries, but then allowed the Bulldogs to pile on 32 unanswered points.

CHOOK RAFFLE: The 20-point margin flattered the Bulldogs. They scored seven tries to the Tigers' five, but there was considerable doubt over two of the Canterbury tries. Balmain prop Shane Walker also dropped the ball under the posts. Sharpshooter Daryl Halligan made a telling contribution with a try and eight goals from eight attempts. His Tigers counterparts left their kicking boots at home - Joel Caine and Craig Field potting two from five between them.

GAMEBREAKER: "Rocket" Rod Silva vindicated the Bulldogs' decision to re-sign him for another two years with an astute display from fullback. He had a major hand in two tries and scored two of his own, showing the dash which has become his trademark.

OFF THE MARK: Tigers winger Mark Luland had a couple of minutes he would rather forget early in the first half.  Halfback Ricky Stuart targeted him on the left wing with two towering bombs for the Bulldogs' opening tries and he was hopelessly out-gunned on each occasion.  Tigers coach Wayne Pearce had no option but to switch him to the right wing.

BACKS TO THE WALL: Balmain backs Craig Hancock, Joel Caine and Michael Gillett were all off the field for long periods of the game, forcing Pearce to reshuffle his side in a major way.

LOCAL HERO: Winger Hazem El Masri gave his huge legion of Lebanese supporters, who had earlier watched their national side trounce the Paul Sironen-led French team, reason to keep cheering with some inspired play.   He scored the Bulldogs' first try and set up their last for Silva with a delicate soccer kick while dancing along the touchline.

Canterbury 44 (Rod Silva 2, Hazem El Masri, Steven Hughes, Willie Talau, Steve Price, Daryl Halligan tries; Daryl Halligan 8 goals) beat Balmain 24 (Chris Morcome 2, Craig Hancock, Darren Senter, Adam Nable tries, Joel Caine, Craig Field goals). Scrums: Balmain 8-4. Penalties: Balmain 7-5. Crowd: 21,031. Goalkickers: Canterbury - Daryl Halligan 8 from 8. Balmain - Joel Caine 1 from 2, Craig Field 1 from 3.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 2 min: Balmain 6-0 (Craig Hancock try, Joel Caine goal). 6 min: Balmain 10-0 (Darren Senter try). 10 min: Balmain 10-6 (Hazem El Masri try, Daryl Halligan goal). 14 min: Canterbury 12-10 (Steven Hughes try, Daryl Halligan goal). 19 min: Canterbury 14-10 (Daryl Halligan goal). 22 min: Canterbury 20-10 (Willie Talau try, Daryl Halligan goal). 39 min: Canterbury 26-10 (Steve Price try, Daryl Halligan goal). 42 min: Canterbury 32-10 (Daryl Halligan try, goal). 57 min: Canterbury 32-14 (Adam Nable try). 64 min: Canterbury 32-18 (Chris Morcome try). 67 min: Canterbury 38-18 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal). 76 min: Canterbury 38-24 (Chris Morcome try, Craig Field goal). 79 min: Canterbury 44-24 (Rod Silva try, Daryl Halligan goal).

INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - David Thompson, Stew Reardon, Robert Relf, Shane Marteene. Balmain - Kyle Leu-luai, Luke O'Donnell, Andrew Meads, James Webster.

Round 26: Bulldogs v Brisbane Broncos Round 26
Brisbane Broncos 14
Canterbury Bulldogs 12

ANZ Stadium
Report by TONY DURKIN,
Rugby League Week (Vol. 30, No. 30)
HOW IT WAS WON: With their backs to the wall, the Broncos donned their nasty suits and dug as deep as they have had to dig all season. It wasn't pretty - in fact, at tiines it was downright ugly, with some poor execution and dreadful fifth-tackle options - but they discovered the fighting spirit they had misplaced the two previous weeks and fought back from 12-4 down to win 14-12.

HOW IT WAS LOST: It would he unfair to say the Bulldogs lost this match ... they were sensational. When Steve Price scored six minutes into the second half to make it 12-4, the Broncos' season looked over. However, a lack of possession - Canterbury did not get a penalty in the second half - didn't give them platform from which to work.

TURNING POINT: The decision by Rod Silva to allow a Darren Lockyer midfield bomb to bounce was crucial. Wendell Sailor leapt high to regather the bouncing ball and made a strong run before cleverly unloading to Shaun Berrigan, who found Peter Ryan in support. The try gave the Broncos a sniff of their first win in three weeks, and after their earlier stretch of 11 successive victories they obviously liked that smell.

THANKS, MATE: The planned post-match get-together of Test and Origin teammates Steve Price and Shane Webcke came early - two tackles into the match, in fact. Running into the granite-like shoulder of Webeke, Price was out before he bit the ground and impressed many with the toughness he showed to return to the field and play a starring role for the 'Dogs. But Canterbury suffered more than the loss of Price. Two sets of six after his lost had, the Broncos were over for their first try.

NO FRILLS: The "drag-em-out, smash-em-up" forward battle was a classic, with Webeke, Price, Troy Stone, Gorden Tallis and Peter Ryan standouts. There was certainly nothing fancy about this game, with coach Steve Folkes conceding the Bulldogs had gone to Brisbane to play "in-your-face" football.

HAZEM IS MAGIC: Hazem El Masri was one of Canterbury's best, and one incident from this match will live long in the memory of those who watched the game. Fielding a failed attempt at goal in the 12th minute, El Masri stepped five Brisbane defenders and miraculously found an invisible trail out of the Bulldogs' in-goal. It was a breathtaking piece of footwork.

GALLANT GORDEN: Tallis was simply stunning yet again. When he went in to dummy half at the end of the Broncos' second successive set of six to start the match, most thought he had muffed things when he darted down the blind. But as he had done the previous week, Tallis confounded the defence with brute strength and beat four to plant the ball on the line.

Brisbane 14 (Tallis, Ryan tries; B Walker 3 goals) beat Canterbury 12 (Silva, Price tries; Halligan 2 goals) Scrums: Brisbane 7-5. Penalties: Brisbane 9-4. Crowd: 34,644. Goalickers: Brisbane - Walker 3 from 5. Canterbury - Halligan 2 from 2.

WHEN THEY SCORED: 3 min: Brisbane 4-0 (Tallis try). 20 min: Canterbury 6-4 (Silva try, Halligan goal). 46 min: Canterbury 12-4 (Price try, Halligan goal). 51 min: Canterbury 12-6 (Walker goal). 60 min: Canterbury 12-8 (Walker goal). 61 min: Brisbane 14-12 (Ryan try; Walker goal).

INTERCHANGE: Brisbane: Peter Ryan, Phillip Lee, Shane Walker, Lote Tuquiri. Canterbury: David Thompson, Steve Reardon, Robert Relf, Shane Marteene.


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