Canterbury Bulldogs 11
Tries: B. Morris, Lane
Goals: Mbye 1/2
Field Goal: Reynolds
St George Illawarra Dragons 10
Goals: Widdop 3/3
Canterbury Bulldogs kept their season alive with a golden point victory over St George Illawarra Dragons, as Josh Reynolds’ field goal sealed their passage to the second week of the NRL Finals.
The game sparked into life in the final 10 minutes as the lead changed hands twice before a penalty goal from Gareth Widdop sent the game into extra time.
Widdop then attempted a 40/20 which went horribly wrong, as his kick was too long and found touch on the full before Reynolds’ broke the Dragons hearts with his one-pointer.
The only points of the first 70 minutes came early on, as Brett Morris flew onto an inside ball to slice through the Dragons defence and reach out from close range to find the whitewash. Moses Mbye converted from in front to make it 6-0.
Both sides were knocking on the door for the remainder of the first half but couldn’t find a way through, as the Bulldogs took a 6-0 advantage into the sheds.
St George started the second period on top and thought they had a try in the first five minutes as Brett Morris looked to have gifted Eto Nabuli four points. After the referee sent it upstairs Morris was let off the hook as he conceded a goal line drop out rather than a try.
Benji Marshall was dictating the play for the Dragons in the second half and he showed some of his magic when he skipped across the line and darted through a hole in the defence to score. It was unfortunately chalked off though as Mbye was obstructed in the build-up.
That was followed by a huge blow as Marshall limped off the field after an awkward, but fair, tackle from Greg Eastwood.
The Bulldgos had repelled a number of sets on their own line and looked to have reaped the rewards as Tim Lafai was over up the other end of the field. He was also denied by an obstruction call from the video referee though.
With only one halfback on the field it looked too much of an uphill task for the Red V until Nabuli came up with a herculean effort to battle his way over in the corner, despite the attention of five defenders. Widdop was then given the task of levelling the scores from the touchline and he duly obliged.
Canterbury looked to have thrown the game away after an ugly tackle by Frank Pritchard gave away a penalty in front, as he led with the knees on Widdop. The Englishman dusted himself off before putting the Dragons 8-6 ahead.
They had only five minutes to see out the game but the Bulldogs came back fighting and Shaun Lane looked to have won it after he dove over in support of Lafai close to the line. Mbye shanked his kick wide and the lead stayed at just two points.
That miss proved costly as from the resulting kick-off Lane was called offside after the Dragons went short with the kick off, and Widdop knocked over the penalty after the hooter to send the game into golden point.
Widdop and Mbye tried unsuccessfully to win the game with a field goal before Widdop’s error allowed Reynolds to win it with his one-pointer which sets up a week two clash with Sydney Roosters.
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