The Canterbury Bulldogs ground out a well-deserved 16-4 win against a Wests Tigers team that failed to offer many shots at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
After an enterprising start the Bulldogs scored first in the 14th minute, through their right centre Kerrod Holland. The try eventuated after a quick twenty metre tap from Brett Morris – from a poor Farah kick – got the Bulldogs into a great attacking position. A surprise attack down the short side saw Lichaa pass to a charging Holland. Both sides absorbing an equal amount of pressure for the rest of the half, with execution and poor fifth tackle options letting both teams down. The Bulldogs led 6-0 at halftime.
The Bulldogs began the second half with a penalty goal, extending their lead to eight. The Bulldogs capitalised on an ineffective Tigers attack, when they put on a slick move to send Holland over for his second try in the 54th minute. As the match entered the final quarter, the Bulldogs dropped off the pace and the Tigers took advantage. A nice backline movement down the right side saw the combination of Farah, Brooks and Marshall send Esan Masters over out wide. The missed conversion brought the Tigers within 10 with 15 minutes left. All the momentum was with the Tigers in the final stages but the Bulldogs endured, adding another penalty goal.
LEADING FROM THE FRONT
Aiden Tolman got through a mountain of work that built a solid foundation for the Bulldogs’ fifth win of the season. In his 68 minutes he made 17 hit ups for159 metres and 42 tackles. When the Tigers began their desperate rally, Dean Pay reinstated Tolman to keep the middle intact.
DOUBLE TO KERROD
The Bulldogs might have former international duo Brett and Josh Morris, but it was their less-experienced players that came up with the points. Holland and Reimis Smith were impressive on the right side and have been playing well for the past month. Some hard running from Holland not only saw him crash over for the first try for consecutive weeks, but another in the second half gave them an unassailable lead.
NOT PLAYING TO THE CONDITIONS
Some of the Tigers’ big wins this season have come during the daytime, and they lacked energy tonight. In wet and cold conditions the Tigers were unable to find that same attacking fluency that helped them over the past few weeks.
If there already wasn’t enough for the Tigers to play for, tonight was David Nofoaluma’s 100th game for the club. Nofoaluma’s been a mainstay the past few seasons and the team would be disappointed they couldn’t produce a better performance. The Tigers have made things difficult for themselves with five rounds remaining, letting slip a match that many expected them to win.
Canterbury Bulldogs 16
Tries: Kerrod Holland 2
Goals: Rhyse Martin 4/4
Wests Tigers 4
Tries: Esan Marsters
Canterbury Bulldogs: 1 Will Hopoate, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Kerrod Holland, 5 Reimis Smith, 6 Lachlan Lewis, 7 Jeremy Marshall-King, 8 Aiden Tolman, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Josh Jackson (c), 12 Rhyse Martin, 13 Adam Elliot.
Interchange: 14 Fa’amanu Brown, 15 Greg Eastwood, 16 Ofahiki Ogden, 17 Danny Fualalo
Wests Tigers: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Corey Thompson, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Russel Packer (c), 9 Robbie Farah, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Michael Chee-Kam, 12 Luke Garner, 13 Elijah Taylor.
Interchange: 14 Alex Twal, 15 Sauaso Sue, 17 Matthew Eisenhuth, 19 Chris McQueen