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Brave Bulldogs claim victory to savor as Roosters stood stunned


The Canterbury Bulldogs had one of their best results in recent years, beating the Sydney Roosters 16-12 to claim their first victory since the first round.

It took some late full-back action, a very late bunker decision and a charge of courage, but Canterbury got theirs in the end.

The Dogs endured a series of horror matches, playing all of last year’s top four in five weeks, but showed improvement throughout. They got their reward today.

Trent Barrett, who spent the game prowling the touchline rather than the coach’s box, can be very proud of his players.

Since their 44-0 hammering in Melbourne, the Dogs have played a solid 20 minutes against Penrith, a solid 40 minutes against the Souths, a solid 60 minutes against the Broncos and now, their best performance of the year, against the Roosters.

Matt Burton’s kicking was excellent, and he got some space thanks to a collective peloton performance that saw Tevita Pangai Junior, Luke Thompson and Paul Vaughan all run over 100m.

Corey Waddell and Jeremy Marshall-King contribute massively on defense, with Kyle Flanagan making 21 tackles and no misses.

Canterbury can be very conservative at times, but in a game like this they doubled down on style by fighting for every yard, tackling anything that moved and kicking long. They were far from functional in attack, but scored enough in the end.

The Roosters, apart from James Tedesco, were very poor. They will be worried about the contribution of Joey Manu, who barely touched football all night.

They finished under 60% in the second half, with Luke Keary throwing uncharacteristic forward passes and Sam Walker missing.

There were early auspicious signs that the dog attack problems were returning again.

With a lot of pressure early on, the Bulldogs failed to get past the boards and when the Roosters got under 20, Walker slipped a kick and Sitili Tuiponiua nearly scored.

It took an unusual mistake to place the dogs on the board. Joey Manu, after making a tackle, was loose to get back to the try line and gave Josh Addo-Carr the chance to sneak up behind him. For Thirty

Matt Burton, who hits 20% worse in his career than Kyle Flanagan, sent the blow wide.

Sometimes in life you have to work for your luck, and the Dogs certainly did. With the Roosters on the attack, Sam Walker threw his Harbor Bridge pass and Addo-Carr read it perfectly. With 95m to go, no one could approach the Fox.

The roosters could not stop: they broke the middle with James Tedesco stopped by a superb tackle from Matt Dufty. When they widened to the left, Tevita Pangai Jnr came inside and was hit by the ball.

The ref ruled it accidental and kept the Bulldog out of the bin, which was made worse when Walker’s pass passed Addo-Carr, only to be dropped by Joseph Suaali.

Another chance would come and the Roosters could not miss. Dufty dropped the ball in contact and invited the pressure, and despite excellent desperation from the Dogs defense, a kick from Keary was fielded by Suaali to put the Chooks on the board before halftime. It’s enough to drive Trent Barrett crazy.

The Roosters had brought Adam Keighran back into the squad but opted to keep Sam Walker as goalkeeper. He missed.

The Dogs, who had thrown everything defensively in the first half, crumbled early in the second. As James Tedesco threatened the line, Ava Seumanufagai slammed into Dufty, clearing the way at the back to score.

The Dogs were livid: it was revealed on video that Angus Crichton had lost the ball in play before, but beyond bunker reach. Keighran had a chance to convert, but he also missed.

This Dogs team is made up of tough stuff, but often lacked quality in 2022. They extended their lead in a way that belied that notion.

Matt Burton produced one of the best 40/20s of the season, a signature spiral kick with a wicked left rebound to the touchline, and from the resulting field position Matt Dufty threw a superb long pass for Jayden Okunbor.

Burton even scored off the sideline. Everything fell for Canterbury: the Roosters kicked off to the max.

The Dogs could have added more. They got three restarts down the Roosters line, but their coy ways returned and the Chooks turned them away.

It almost cost them. Tedesco, by far the best on the ground for his team, nearly broke but was just about taken down.

Canterbury was in suspended mode. They tackled and tackled, and the Roosters failed to optimize themselves offensively.

The awkward form gave the defense too much time to watch the movement in front of them and, when they made space, mistakes got in the way.

The Roosters finally made a breakthrough. Despite a strong forward pass suspicion in the build-up, Sitili Tupouniua was able to score from the corner after Okunbor reversed a spot kick. From the touchline, Keighran missed again and it was a four-point game.

The Roosters would make the most of it. Manu, who had done nothing all night, gained space on the right and kicked the ball out the back door for Suaali.

There was a bruise in the corner between Manu and Aaron Schoupp, Trent Barrett was losing his mind on the sidelines and in the middle of it all the camera stopped on the referee. The bunker was calling.

At first the crowd thought he was a lead runner, but instead it was Matt Burton who made the late effort to put Suaali’s foot in touch.

It was normal that it was a superhuman effort in football that made the difference. You could never accuse the Bulldogs of lacking effort, and they finally got the win they needed.




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