The Bulldogs have trounced the Broncos at ANZ Stadium and registered a 36-22 victory to open Round 21 of the NRL competition.
I would like to start this match report with something of a list.
The Bulldogs were more aggressive, disciplined, committed, desperate and hungry than our friends from the north and the Broncos will travel home knowing they were met, matched and belted by one of the proudest teams in the league.
What began as a cagey affair turned into an absolute points fest for the Dogs as they found the line five times and the boot of Rhyse Martin added further pain to the visitors’ trip to Sydney.
With a top four place still up for grabs, Wayne Bennett would be well within reason to ask his team exactly what it was that they produced at ANZ tonight. A pair of late consolation tries flattered them on the scoreboard and the Bulldogs led, dominated and thoroughly deserved their victory.
In what looked a potentially low scoring affair, with the opening fifteen minutes producing a lone penalty goal to Martin, the Bulldogs exploded. Tries to Josh Jackson and Will Hopoate put them fourteen clear and the upset was well and truly on the cards.
Enter Korbin Sims, who found the line twice and the northerners had clawed within four points at half time as the Bulldogs took a 16-12 lead into the break.
By far the better team in the first half, the blue and whites put the foot to the floor early in the second and with tries to the Morris brothers and Matt Frawley, built an unassailable 36-12 lead at the 66th minute mark of the game.
Late tries to Anthony Milford and Jamayne Isaako were merely morale boosting, on a night that the Bulldogs took a real step forward in their preparations for next season.
As brilliant as the Morris boys were, the youth in the squad was even more impressive. Up against a side with serious aspirations coming into the semi-finals, the Dogs were ferocious and desperate in defence.
Adam Elliott continued his outstanding form, Kerrod Holland showed further signs of improvement and Reimis Smith ran for 100 plus metres and continued his development as an NRL player.
The star of the night, again, was Lachlan Lewis who ran, passed and kicked astutely. The Bulldogs finally look to have held onto a play maker of immense talent, rather than letting another star slip through its fingers; only to return and cause pain in opposition colours.
It was a glorious night for the Club, the coach and the players. With a rebuild underway and a coach and board inheriting the problems borne of those who came before them, the signs are well and truly evident that the clean out of players occupying unnecessary salary cap space has already begun to reap rewards.
With the chance to spoil a few teams on the run home, the Bulldogs have plenty for which to play. It looks like we might be witnessing the rebirth of the famous blue and white culture. A culture of which the new board spoke and the one we saw on the field tonight.
Canterbury-Bankstown 36 Brisbane Broncos 22
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