The Bulldogs snapped a 3 match losing streak as they downed the Eels at ANZ Stadium.
Three of the game’s four tries came within the first 15 minutes. Brett Morris opened the scoring in the 7th minute, finishing off a routine backline shift. The Eels hit back with the King Clint Gutherson backing up in support off a break down the left edge to cross for Parra’s first points. He turned provider 5 minutes later, sending a cut-out pass floating over the top to Bevan French to score in the corner.
A mostly dire second half saw both teams do their absolute best to try and gift their opposition the victory thanks to a number of missed opportunities. Eventually something had to give and Gutherson had his royal status revoked as he made an embarrassing air swing at a loose ball with his boot. The Dogs pounced on the ball with Adam Elliott claiming the try and giving them the victory.
Dean Pay breathes a sigh of relief
Just a couple of months into his first season as a head coach and it’s fair to say that Dean Pay would have already aged a couple of years due to the stress. After a couple of disappointing weeks though, he was a overjoyed and relieved man in the coaches box to see his team finally close out a game.
Aaron Woods stated in a post-match interview that they had been competitive in games but they lacked the polish to finish them off. The quality of their opposition is up for debate but confidence doesn’t discriminate and the coach along with the players are going to be happy men.
Eels left to rue opportunities gone begging
Michael Jennings bombed a try-scoring opportunity after he chased down a Bevan French grubber to the in-goal. In the act of scoring, his right fingers scraped the ball before he had planted the ball down with his left and thus had knocked on.
That went along with moments like when Mitchell Moses busted through the line and came charging down the field to the Dogs 20 without any support.
The Eels finished the match having scored the same amount of tries as their opposition but in the end they didn’t capitalize on a number of other try-scoring chances, making themselves their own worst enemy.
Eels left to search for positives for remainder of season
Coach Brad Arthur made the admission that some of his players were in tears in the sheds after the game. Given the close nature of the match and the aforementioned moments of missed chances and incredible blunders, it was certainly a tough loss to take.
With their season starting to look like a foregone conclusion, it’ll be the toughest test of Brad Arthur’s career to try and keep his team afloat and motivated for the rest of the year.
A miraculous 2009-esque run to the finals isn’t entirely out of the question but given the form they’re currently in, it seems more likely that sooner or later attention is going to turn to avoiding the wooden spoon and building for next season.
Michael Lichaa’s future in doubt once again
With the Dogs pulling off a win with the unlikely hooking rotation of Marshall-King and a centre in Kerrod Holland, it seems like Lichaa’s career is back on the ropes just as it seemed like it was back on track.
The club had already committed to letting him go last year as he was farewelled at the Bulldogs end of season event but a late season surge of form had many convinced that Des Hasler had held him back and he was re-signed.
With a run of average form to start the season though, Lichaa found himself dropped and if the Dogs begin to string some wins together, he may have to bid farewell to the team for a second consecutive year.
Tries: Brett Morris (7m), Adam Elliott (72m)
Goals: Moses Mbye 6/6
Tries: Clint Gutherson (10m), Bevan French (15m)
Goals: Mitchell Moses 2/2