The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have caused a massive boilover in beating the Sydney Roosters at Accor Stadium.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr 2 (13, 20), Jayden Okunbor (53)
Goals: Matt Burton 2 (21, 55)
Sydney Roosters 8
Tries: Joseph Suaalii (38), James Tedesco (45), Sitili Tupouniua (73)
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have hung on for a thrilling win over their old rivals the Sydney Roosters in a game that was almost seeped in controversy.
As the game ticked down the Roosters, who had an awful completion rate but all the ball in the second stanza, were awarded a try off the back of two forward passes before marching down field from the kick off to score what seemed like another controversial try.
The Bunker intervened and somehow cleared an obstruction on Matt Burton, before the five-eighth recovered to make a game winning save on Joseph Suaalii and force his foot into touch just moments before he grounded the ball.
Pre-game the Bulldogs lost captain Josh Jackson to COVID and winger Brent Naden who was at home after the birth of his child.
Josh Addo-Carr and Luke Thompson were his replacement captains. The Roosters were unchanged.
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
It was an energetic start for the home side, with Jeremy Marshall-King making a nuisance of himself from dummy half with a line break and several clever passes.
Although presented with chances, the Bulldogs looked a tad pedestrian in attack and were unable to come away from points on the back of three attacking raids.
Down the other end of the field, Sitili Tupouniua came close but knocked on a Sam Walker grubber. Both teams traded chances, but it was the Bulldogs with the better of it, keeping a kick for touch in play and constantly peppering the strong defence of the Roosters.
A repeat set and an error later, it was a clever scoot near the try line from Josh Addo-Carr that opened the try scoring. Matt Burton’s wide conversion attempt missed.
As the Roosters peppered the Bulldogs line with repeat sets, it was Addo-Carr crossing in the 22nd minute from a length of the field intercept, touching down for his fifth try in three weeks. Burton made no mistake with the conversion this time around.
Both teams traded sets attacking the opposing line to no avail, although the Roosters looked likely with Tedesco scheming all over the park.
As half time approached the Roosters made a big break thanks to Luke Keary. On the back of a penalty and repeat set the tricolours looked destined to score, but the Bulldogs goal line defence held strong.
With three minutes to go the Roosters were presented another chance at their first points and this time it was a pin-point kick that found Joseph Suaalii out wide for what was potentially a game changing try. Sam Walker’s sideline conversion was sprayed wide.
HALF-TIME: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 10 Sydney Roosters 4Embed from Getty Images
From the opening set it appeared the ‘Dogs were back to their worst, looking pedestrian in attack and making an error, gifting the Roosters a set in their half.
Another error led to a chance for the Roosters and, on the back of a clear knock-on misses by the officials, James Tedesco strolled through some poor defence. Adam Keighran took over the kicking and sprayed his attempt wide.
As the Roosters gained some ascendency, an emotionally pumped-up Burton kicked a tremendous 40/20 that led to their next points.
Matt Dufty chimed into the backline and threw a magnificent floating pass to winger Jayden Okunbor to score out wide. Burton extended the lead to eight points with a sideline conversion.
Both sides were tested defensively but it was the Bulldogs under pressure with 16 minutes to play. Try as they might, the Roosters were contained by an improved Bulldogs defence albeit disappointing handling.
With 10 to play the desperate Roosters began to play expansive football while the home side were playing it simple, defending well to cling to an eight-point lead.
It was two forward passes missed by officials that led to a grandstand finish, with Tupouniua touching down out wide from a scramble. Keighran missed the sideline conversion and the gap remained four with five minutes to play.
From the kick off the Roosters went 100 metres, a beautiful flick pass from Joseph Manu sending Suaalii over in controversial circumstances.
The Bunker intervened, clearing what looked like an obstruction but finding Suaalii went inti touch before grounding the ball, giving the ‘Dogs a huge reprieve with three minutes to play.
In a half dominated by the Roosters, who had more than 80 per cent territory, it was the Bulldogs who hung on for a gritty victory.
FULL-TIME: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16 Sydney Roosters 12
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts -Josh Addo-Carr (Bulldogs), 2 pts – James Tedesco (Roosters), 1 pt – Paul Vaughan (Bulldogs)
Follow Nothing But League on Facebook.