Matt Attard reviews Canberra’s scrappy win over Canterbury-Bankstown …
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Canberra have held on to defeat the Bulldogs in front of a revved up Raiders crowd celebrating Old Boys Day, but it came at a cost with returning captain Jarrod Croker suffering a shoulder injury.
The home side had a mammoth possession rate in the first half, and went into the break ahead, before the Bulldogs made somewhat of a comeback in a disappointing match between two cellar dwellers.
Pre-game both teams were as named aside from Ryan Sutton switching back to the bench for the home side.
It was a dominant opening 10 minutes from Canberra, with several repeat sets and penalties camping them down the Bulldogs’ end.
Josh Addo-Carr ran the length of the field, although he had knocked on first, meaning more pressure on the Dogs’ defence that continued to hold strong despite mounting pressure.
With their own errors punishing their attempts for good field position, the Bulldogs looked to have conceded a try in the 15th minute when Nick Cotric went over, but it was deemed a double movement.
In the next set it was a Matt Burton line break that had Bulldogs fans celebrating as Addo-Carr crossed. However it was ruled out due to an obstruction.
There was no stopping the next try with numbers out wide seeing Elliot Whitehead cross in the corner. The returning Croker missed the sideline conversion.
The Raiders continued their field position dominance as the half-time break crept up, although Hudson Young did cross the line until the referee waved it back for a forward pass.
Ten minutes from half-time Jeremy Marshall-King was placed on report for a trip as the Bulldogs lamented having just four tackles in the opposition half.
The tired defence of the Bulldogs was shown up by their former halfback Matt Frawley, who threw two dummies and waltzed over under the posts for what was shortly a 10-0 lead.
It was Frawley again just minutes later delivering a wonderful banana kick grubber for what appeared to be a Croker try, although replays showed he failed to ground the ball.
HALF-TIME: Canberra Raiders 10 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 0Embed from Getty Images
Canberra ran out having not scored a try in the second half since Round 5, but it didn’t stop them from dominating possession again. For 10 minutes the Bulldogs continued to battle, inviting the Raiders into their half with errors and interceptions.
A high tackle led to a penalty goal from Croker to extend the lead to 12. A further few attacking sets followed yet somehow the Bulldogs were up to the task.
Although their defensive resolve was admirable, their attack left a lot to be desired until a superb Burton chip kick found Addo-Carr. The ensuing set saw Burton take on the line and score. He failed to convert his own try as the gap remained at eight points.
The Bulldogs began to look likely as possession evened out, but their clunky attack was unable to come up with anything in good field position.
A goal-line drop out went out on the full, allowing Croker to kick his second penalty of the night and extend the lead to 10 once again.
Burton attempted a trick play late in the game for Matt Dufty, who almost won the race to the ball in the in-goal, but knocked on as he was sandwiched between two defenders – including the unlucky Croker who looked to sustain a serious shoulder injury. After taking so long to get back into first grade (working his way back through NSW Cup), it’d be incredibly cruel if his career ends like this. Fingers crossed he recovers.
The news got worse in the next set as Josh Papalii stayed down clutching a knee, however he was able to continue.
Some enterprising play gave the Bulldogs a chance at consolation points but they were unable to capitalise as Canberra snapped their five-match losing streak.
FULL-TIME: Canberra Raiders 14 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 4
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Matt Frawley (Raiders), 2 pts – Nick Cotric (Raiders), 1 pt – Hudson Young (Raiders)
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