[ Round 1-6 ] [ Round 8-13 ] [ Round 14-19 ] [ Round 20-26 ] [ The Finals ]
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
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.
Canterbury Bulldogs 56
Western Suburbs Magpies 16
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
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'
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
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
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
INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - Dennis Scott, Steve
Reardon, Robert Relf, Brent Sherwin. Wests - Adam Bristow, Paul Jeffries, Dane Dorahy, Ray
Canterbury Bulldogs 30
North Sydney Bears 18
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,
Canterbury Bulldogs 22
Penrith Panthers 22
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
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.
Canterbury Bulldogs 20
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
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
INTERCHANGE: Canterbury - David Thompson, Stew
Reardon, Robert Relf, Shane Marteene. Balmain - Kyle Leu-luai, Luke O'Donnell, Andrew
Meads, James Webster.
Brisbane Broncos 14
Canterbury Bulldogs 12
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
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
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