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Heart break for Vulcans

A heart-breaking 79th-minute Bulldogs try denied the Auckland Vulcans a dramatic victory in today's New South Wales Cup grand final at ANZ Stadium at Homebush.
Heart break for Vulcans
by NRL

A heart-breaking 79th-minute Bulldogs try denied the Auckland Vulcans a dramatic victory in today's New South Wales Cup grand final at ANZ Stadium at Homebush.

The Vulcans, the first of the three Auckland-based teams in grand final action, had staged a thrilling recovery in the final 10 minutes.

Down 18-26, the inspirational Pita Godinet scored one try and created another to give his side a 28-26 lead with four minutes to play.

They defended their line once inside the last two minutes but, bringing the ball out of their red zone, they turned the ball over to give the minor premiership-winning Canterbury-Bankstown one last shot. It proved to be too much, the Bulldogs engineering the match-winning try for centre Jonathan Wright with just 20 seconds left, handing the Vulcans a devastating finish to what had been an impressive season.

While they'd taken a 12-10 lead into halftime, the Vulcans were soon under the pump in the second half when hooker Joel Romelo scored early and winger Michael Lett crossed soon after enabling the Bulldogs to surge to a 20-12 lead.

The Vulcans were also under-resourced having lost centre Sione Lousi and dynamic fullback Glen Fisiiahi with injuries, leaving them with only two fit players on the interchange bench. It was a severe handicap against as Bulldogs side boasting so many experienced NRL players including Ben Roberts, Trent Cutler, Chris Armit and Bryson Goodwin.

Godinet was also suffering after being hammered in an ugly tackle which was placed on report. Playing at fullback, he stayed on and provided the inspiration for his side to make a late run.

It was started by halfback Brett Seymour when he punched a last tackle grubber in goal, winger Willie Peace chasing it down to pounce between the legs of an embarrassed Lett, who was trying to escort the ball over the dead ball line. With Seymour's excellent conversion the margin was down to 18-20 with 20 minutes to play.

All to soon it climbed to 26-18 when Lett had his second try after Wright tapped back a kick, Goodwin converting for a vital eight-point lead.

Enter the battered Godinet who produced a brilliant show and go to score from dummy half, which Seymour converted to make it 24-26 inside the final 10 minutes. And it was Godinet again who injected himself out wide minutes later, poking through and delivering a perfect off load for centre Ivan Penehe to score in the corner.

Seymour missed the conversion but, with a 28-26 lead and four minutes to play, the Vulcans had turned the contest around - until Wright stole a maiden premiership away from them.

Match details:

At ANZ Stadium, Homebush
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 30 (Jonathan Wright 2, Michael Lett 2, Trent Cutler, Joel Romelo tries; Bryson Goodwin 3 conversions).
Auckland Vulcans 28 (Willie Peace 2, Glen Fisiiahi, Pita Godinet, Ivan Penehe tries; Brett Seymour 4 conversions).
Halftime: 12-10 Vulcans.

Auckland Vulcans: Glen Fisiiahi; Willie Peace, Sione Lousi, Ivan Penehe, Niuvao Taka; Brett Seymour, Pita Godinet; James Gavet, Alehana Mara, Jeremy Latimore; Ukuma Ta'ai, Matt Robinson; Isaac John (c). Interchange: Darin Kingi, Upu Poching, Steve Rapira, Anthony Gelling.

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