In what was expected to be a big day for the home side, the Dragons were hammered by a very impressive Bulldogs side 38-0. This was the biggest ever loss at Jubliee Oval by the Dragons including both St. George and St. George Illawarra eras.
Both sides started with plenty of energy but were struggling to put the required finishing touch on their plays as both teams went scoreless until the 17th minute, when Bulldogs’ centre Josh Morris collected a neat grubber kick by Lachlan Lewis to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead. Dragons centre Euan Aitken picked up a hamstring injury during the play as he was beaten to the ball by Morris.
The Bulldogs then extended their lead after the Dragons kicked the ball down field Will Hopoate and Kerrod Holland produced offloads before the ball found Smith, who then ran pass four defenders before standing up fullback Matt Dufty and scoring a sensational long distance try.
The Bulldogs were flying high on confidence especially winger Smith who crossed again for his second try, once again Smith showed off his athleticism by planting the ball in the corner whilst keeping his feet off the ground and avoiding going out to give Canterbury a 18-0 lead at the break.
St. George tried hard to get things going in the second half but after conceding a penalty and there for a ‘four score lead’ the Dragons players’ heads went down as the Bulldogs ran riot. Just to prove his first try was no fluke Smith again ran past multiple Dragons defenders as he took another kick return down field and once again stood up Dufty to cross for his first hat-trick in the NRL.
Further tries to Brett Morris and Ofahiki Ogden rubbed more salt into the wounds of the Dragons players as the score blew out to 38-0 the fans started to leave as they were left to ponder what has happened to their season after another promising start.
Heading into this game the Dragons were expected to put in a big performance paying respect to the life of former player Lance Thompson and saying farewell to Jason Nightingale who was playing his final game at his beloved Jubilee Oval. But the Red V put in one of the worst performances in the joint ventures’ history, kept to nil for only the third time at home and their biggest loss at home, the Dragons also blew a chance to move back into the top four.
Reimis’ Big Day
After making his debut in 2016 Reimis Smith has struggled to cement himself a spot in the NRL, after missing most of last season with injury Smith had to bide his time in reserve grade in 2018. But as the Bulldogs were forced to offload players mid-season and injuries struck Smith was given his chance, and after his heroics in today’s game Smith looks to have a long and successful career in the NRL. The son of former Kiwi international Tyran Smith and the nephew of League and Boxing champion Anthony Mundine, young Reimis has serious pedigree and a proud family tradition in sports to carry on.
It’s a long season
Through the early rounds of the competition the Dragons quickly asserted themselves as the team to beat in 2018 as they enjoyed an injury-free start to the season, nearly all their players were in career best form with up to eight players in the discussion for Origin duties. But as the season grew long and Origin came and went, the Dragons started to hit a few hurdles and injuries started appearing. But their biggest issue is the loss of form and confidence to their key players, most notably star recruit Ben Hunt. The Queensland rep is a shadow of the player he was earlier this year and seems to be missing his halves partner Gareth Widdop, Hunt may benefit from having Darren Nicholls playing alongside him next week instead of ‘make-shift’ five-eighth Kurt Mann.
Brightness ahead for Bulldogs
After struggling through the start of the season and having to deal with their messy salary cap situation the Bulldogs are finally enjoying themselves in season 2018, losing big name players Moses Mbye and Aaron Woods mid-season along with the injury to halfback Keiran Foran have actually served as a blessing in disguise for Canterbury. The loss of Mbye opened up a spot in their top 30 for five-eighth Lachlan Lewis and the injury to Foran gave Lewis his chance in first grade and he hasn’t looked back since becoming the key play maker for the Dogs. Other players such as Kerrod Holland, Rhyse Martin, Reimis Smith and Ofahiki Ogden have also taken their chances and proved they can be part of a bright future at Belmore.
Canterbury Bulldogs 38
Tries: Smith 3, Josh Morris, Brett Morris, Ogden
Goals: Holland 7/7
Drop Goals: N/A
St. George Illawarra Dragons 0
Drop Goals: N/A
Dragons: 5. Jason Nightingale 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 15. Jordan Pereira 6. Kurt Mann 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 11. Tyson Frizell 17. Luciano Leilua 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jack de Belin 1. Matthew Dufty 10. Leeson Ah Mau 14. Jeremy Latimore 21. Jacob Host
Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Reimis Smith 6. Lachlan Lewis 7. Matt Frawley 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. David Klemmer 11. Josh Jackson 12. Rhyse Martin 13. Adam Elliott 14. Jeremy Marshall-King 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Ofahiki Ogden 17. Greg Eastwood