The Bulldogs took down the more fancies Raiders 16-10, but it wasn’t without long term concerns for both sides with injuries playing their part in dictating terms.
Leipana schooled by the Mozzes
Everyone’s talking about BJ Leilua and Jordan Rapana for Test and Origin selection. Nobody talked about Josh Morris and Brett Morris making either, yet it was the senior Bulldog pairing winning the day at ANZ Stadium, Josh managing to put on an individually brilliant try by running over his more fancied opponent in the centres. Every time that Leilua is touted for Origin selection year after year the point of his defense not being up to scratch is raised: and it’s an indication that he’s still not ready that it still hasn’t improved.
Raider gem on the other edge
One positive for the otherwise lacklustre Raiders was rookie Nick Cotric, who pulled out a big one with 147 metres run, a linebreak, as well as a whopping 7 tackle breaks against a vaunted Dogs D. Not only was Cotric very assured with going up to catch the high ball, he managed the grubber well and returned the ball with the fire and velocity of a future star on the wing. The Raiders have added to their impressive lineup of quick, powerful backs and are setting up to have a very long premiership window.
Injury concerns for both sides but Dogs fight through
Any side that has their captain go off for concussion early in the first half and must play the game without him is in trouble. They go on to lose their five eighth right on half time and you’d expect them to collapse – especially with a supposed side of fat forwards. The Bulldogs, very contrary to popular opinion, are fit and fiery and dig deep to pull out wins against adversity like injury. The Raiders, too, were not without injury with Shannon Boyd missing lots of the game, but most of the attention will go to Josh Reynolds’ hamstring.
Dogs D so strong by second stanza
The Bulldogs have conceded only seven tries in nine second halves this season, and have the best second half defense in the competition. The Bulldogs have held now the Storm, Broncos, Rabbitohs and the Raiders all scoreless in the second half of their games. Three more of their games only had one second half try against them. As mentioned, they are a fighting fit unit.
Canterbury Bulldogs 16
Tries: Adam Elliott 2, Josh Morris
Goals: Kerrod Holland 2
Canberra Raiders 10
Tries: Jarrod Croker, Josh Hodgson
Goals: Jarrod Croker 1