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Okunbor and Meaney star, as the Dogs turn Tigers into pussies; Round 3 Match Report

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have produced the most stunning turn around of form to down the Wests Tigers 22-8 at Campbelltown Stadium.
The win opens the Bulldog’s account for 2019 and relieves much of the pressure accumulated after two disappointing efforts against the Warriors and Parramatta in the opening two rounds.
Coach Dean Pay rang the changes during the week and swung the axe firmly. His moves paid immediate dividends and the blue and whites looked like a different unit from the opening minutes.
After a cagey first 20 minutes Reimis Smith opened the scoring following brilliant lead up work from new fullback Nick Meaney. The 21 year-old provided exactly what the Dogs have needed at the back. Meaney’s explosive pace was a revelation as he scooped on a loose ball and ran down field; linking with Will Hopoate before Smith crossed in the corner.
Kieran Foran produced a polished display and crossed for the second try of the match after an elusive run where he straightened through the centre of the Tigers’ fringe defence. When Corey Harawira-Naera slipped a lovely inside ball to Foran in the 37th minute and the pivot found Dylan Napa backing up on the inside, the Dogs were rampant.
Rhyse Martin converted all three tries to send the Dogs to the sheds with a comfortable 18-0 lead.
Adam Elliott crashed over on the left edge just 10 minutes into the second half and the Dogs looked well and truly home. To their credit, the Tigers came home strongly. Two tries pulled them back to a 22-8 deficit before Canterbury galvanised and withstood the late pressure built.
Jayden Okunbor starred in his top grade debut and whether it was the personnel changes or the unity created by the resigning of Pay during the week, something was different at Campbelltown this afternoon.
Will Hopoate was a consistent threat in his new centre role, Okunbor and Meaney were best on ground and Kieran Foran played his best ever game for the blue and white. Martin’s goal kicking added confidence and it was great to see Ofahiki Ogden make his mark in first grade.
Smith and Okunbor both ran for in excess of 170 metres and Lachlan Lewis bounced back to some excellent kicking form. All the while, captain courageous Josh Jackson toiled through the centre with 44 tackles and hooker Jeremy Marshall King was not far behind with 40.
There will be something of a sigh of relief at Belmore, although also a sense of hope, after the Bulldogs showed the spirit that has made them one of the most respected and feared NRL clubs.
Next week presents an intimidating challenge with a trip to Melbourne to tackle the might of the Storm. After today’s effort, the Bulldogs will feel good about their chances.
Final Score
Wests Tigers 8 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 22

1 Comment

  • Greg Stroud

    01.04.2019 at 02:19 Reply

    A truly great win for the Bulldogs. I thought only Holland & Lichaa (very limited minutes) were quiet, all the rest were VERY good. Now they have to back it up next weekend against the Storm. As long as we see their best efforts, we fans will be happy.

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