Bulldogs triumph in Bandaged Bear Cup
Starring performances from Ben Barba and Josh Reynolds has led Canterbury-Bankstown to a 32-12 Rivalry Round victory over Parramatta at ANZ Stadium to reclaim the Bandaged Bear Cup for the second year in a row.by NRL
Starring performances from Ben Barba and Josh Reynolds has led Canterbury-Bankstown to a 32-12 Rivalry Round victory over Parramatta at ANZ Stadium to reclaim the Bandaged Bear Cup for the second year in a row.
Barba was involved in almost everything, scoring a length of the field try, as well as setting up three of the other four tries in the win, which brings the Bulldogs level with the Storm at the top of the ladder on 28 competition points.
The opening tackle of the game set the tone for the first half, with Fuifui Moimoi leaving the field after a high shot by Sam Kasiano. Both sides would maintain the toughness and intensity for the first 40 minutes, but it was the Bulldogs who started the better.
Josh Morris grabbed the first points in just the 6th minute when a backline play involving Barba created an overlap for the NSW centre to exploit and cross for his first try of the night.
It was followed up four minutes later with one of the tries of the season, as Barba beat three Eels on a kick return and ran 100m to score, pushing the Bulldogs out to 10-0 in as many minutes.
Shocked but far from deterred, the Eels stayed in the game when Ken Sio hit back in the 18th minute, collecting a pin-point Luke Kelly cross field kick to bring the scores back to 10-6 and swing the momentum back towards the visitors.
Over the next 15 minutes they continued to pressure the Bulldogs' line, earning a couple of repeat sets while Cheyse Blair was also thrown into touch just two metres short of the line by Josh Reynolds.
After weathering the Eels storm through the middle stages of the half, the Bulldogs launched a late attack, and after gaining a scrum in the final minute crossed again in the 40th minute through Morris, a carbon copy of the opening try. It was a vital blow, extending their lead to 16-6 at the break and giving them plenty of confidence into the second half.
But it was the Eels who came out from the break on fire, and halfback Chris Sandow had the spark to create the first points of the second half when he dummied a kick and took on the line. He offloaded to Kelly, who's cross field kick was picked up by Sio, who himself offloaded inside to Ryan Morgan, with the centre fighting to get the ball down. The Luke Burt conversion closed the gap to just 16-12 after 46 minutes.
The Bulldogs didn't lie down however, and stretched their lead back to eight points in the 57th minute when Jonathan Wright scored from a Barba cut-out pass, pushing the score out to 20-12, and putting the home side back on the front foot.
Josh Reynolds all but sealed the result in the 66th minute when he crossed under the posts, stepping twice off his right foot to break the line and beat Luke Burt, giving them a 26-12 lead.
Jonathan Wright grabbed his second and put a stamp on the performance in the 75th minute, grabbing a Kris Keating kick out of the air to close out the game 32-12.
CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS 32
(J Morris 2, J Wright 2, B Barba, J Reynolds Tries; K Inu 4/6 Goals)
PARRAMATTA EELS 12
(K Sio, R Morgan Tries; L Burt 2/2 Goals)
At ANZ Stadium, Sydney
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