Whilst one Australian based team was incapable of resisting the threat from across the ditch this weekend, another was more than up to the task.
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have scored a hard fought 27-26 victory against the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium, with a late field goal that brought the home fans to their feet.
In a game that the Bulldogs led from the 24th minute and the officiating left a lot to be desired, the blue and whites prevailed to register their third win in four matches.
It was a wild and windy day at ANZ and there were less than 10,000 in attendance. Personally, I was inspired by the loyal fans, the passionate drumming and flags that flew with every Bulldog point. The Club may not have had the best 2018 yet the faithful will forever be just that.
An early try to Gerard Beale wasn’t enough to discourage the Bulldogs. Tries to Adam Elliott, Reimis Smith and Lachlan Lewis soon followed and only a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck four pointer kept the visitors close at the half-time break. With a Rhyse Martin penalty and the brilliant last minute attacking play that saw Lewis cross under the posts, Canterbury took a 20-12 lead into the sheds.
The Warriors did what would be expected of a potential top four contender and threw the kitchen sink at the Bulldogs in the second period. David Fusitua scored twice and Peter Hiku added a third, with only a Josh Morris try from a high kick that was batted back by his brother, keeping the Bulldogs in front.
Shaun Johnson’s missed conversions would haunt the Warriors, as Hiku’s late try drew them level, rather than sending the visitors to the lead.
It set up an exciting final three minutes with a field goal looming as a likely option for both teams. With the Bulldogs in decent attacking position Lewis took the odds available and the decisive shot. It floated……floated and drifted in the breeze; bound to be blown off-course. Somehow, it stayed on track and crept over the bar.
The job was still incomplete and a lucky break from the short kick-off saw possession go in the Bulldogs’ favour, as the clock ticked into the final minute.
At the death, the game called for a closer. Someone strong willed, mature and composed enough to resist the temptation of the high kick or risky play that would afford the Warriors a final opportunity.
Enter Lachlan Lewis and a shrewd driving touch finder into the corner sealed the fate of the Warriors and the two points for the Dogs.
Almost hauntingly, I bumped into Terry Lamb on the escalator as I left level four of the ANZ members section. ‘Baa’ was the man who did it for us time and time again throughout his career. In Lewis, we may just have found our next little champion.
I for one, certainly hope so.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 27 New Zealand Warriors 26
What was your view of the game? Add your comment in the space below and have your say in the Bulldog conversation.