2021 NRL Round Seven, Sharks 12 Bulldogs 18 – Report

Chloe Schibeci reviews Canterbury-Bankstown’s drought-breaking win over Cronulla-Sutherland. Here’s how the game went.


Sharks 12

Tries: Blayke Brailey (45), Mawene Hiroti (75)

Goals: Chad Townsend (46, 76)

Bulldogs 18

Tries: Will Hopoate (4), Nick Cotric (10), Nick Meaney (21)

Goals: Kyle Flanagan (6,12, 22)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Will Hopoate (Bulldogs)
2 pts – Corey Waddell (Bulldogs)
1 pt – Nick Meaney (Bulldogs)


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1st Half

The Bulldogs came out guns blazing, ready to claim their first win of the 2021 season. Canterbury were dominating from the beginning, with Will Hopoate scoring in the opening five minutes after a missed one-on-one tackle by the Cronulla defender. 

The Bulldogs only continued to gain momentum and confidence; their next try came from Nick Cotric after a stunning kick from Jake Averillo. Josh Dugan competed for the ball but to no avail, slipping out of his hands and into those of Cotric, the second try scorer for the Bulldogs.

Trying to compete, the Sharks messily attempted to score their first points of the night. Dugan lost the ball backwards, and after play on was called, the Sharks scrambled to get through the Bulldogs’ defence. The ball ultimately ended up in the hands of Mawene Hiroti who dropped the ball in his attempt to score. The Sharks remained at zero while the Bulldogs continued to dominate the first half. About five minutes later, the same happens again for Hiroti, reaching the line but being just short, denying Cronulla their first points of the game. 

Nick Meaney scored the third try for the Bulldogs in the 21st minute of play, not needing to do much to break through the defence of the Sharks. 

With about 13 minutes remaining in the first half, Cronulla’s Siosifa Talakai was placed on report and sent to the sin bin after dishing out a nasty-looking shoulder charge on the Bulldogs’ Matt Doorey. 

This first half looked promising for the Bulldogs who were desperate for their first win of the year. 

HALF-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 18

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2nd Half

The second half began for the Sharks the way the first half began for the Bulldogs: a try within the opening five minutes. Blayke Brailey scored the first points for Cronulla after a short kick into the in-goal area and going for it himself. This one-man effort from Brailey was what Cronulla were hoping would give them confidence and momentum as the game progressed. 

The Sharks were denied a third try midway through the second half. Jesse Ramien broke through the Bulldogs’ defence, giving himself space to pass to his support player in Shaun Johnson. Johnson then passed it to Townsend who put the ball down. Unfortunately for Cronulla, the try was ultimately disallowed after being called back for obstruction. 

With 17 remaining, the Bulldogs were desperate to hold on and the Sharks equally as desperate to catch up and steal a win; Conor Tracey tried his luck to score more points for Cronulla along the sideline, however his foot was out and therefore the try was called back. Meanwhile, Canterbury were still upholding a strong defensive effort, keeping themselves in the game. 

With only four minutes remaining in the game, Hiroti finally scored his first try of the night – third time’s the charm. Cronulla were now just six points behind and desperate. The Bulldogs held on, defending their line with desperation, denying the Sharks a try in the final moments of the game that would have taken it into Golden Point.

Canterbury went on to be scoreless in the second half; however, their massive efforts in the first half were enough to keep them in the game. Their incredible defensive effort paid off in the end, winning their first game of 2021. 

FULL-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 12 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 18


Chris Smith (Bulldogs) – failed HIA
Matt Doorey (Bulldogs) – failed HIA

Match Review Committee

Siosifa Talakai (Sharks) – Grade 3 Shoulder Charge – Early Guilty Plea 4 match ban.

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