Sharks topple Bulldogs in NSW Cup
With much to play for, the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs and Cronulla Sutherland Sharks met on at Toyota Stadium on Saturday with the Bulldogs in a fight for the minor premiership and the Sharks looking to break into the Top 8.by NRL
With much to play for, the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs and Cronulla Sutherland Sharks met on at Toyota Stadium on Saturday with the Bulldogs in a fight for the minor premiership and the Sharks looking to break into the Top 8.
At the end of the 80 minutes, it was an enthusiastic Sharks outfit who prevailed against a disjointed and disappointing Bulldogs outfit.
With both side boasting numerous players with first grade experience, the first ten minutes of the match started with a semi-final type intensity and the Bulldogs came the closest to score when Shane Pumipi lost control grounding the ball.
It was the Bulldogs last tackle kick errors that cost them dearly as Cronulla gained field position to break through in the 13th minute through good work by Richard Fa'aoso to send Rory Kostjasyn over under the posts for a 6-0 lead.
Another poor kick in the 18th minute gave Cronulla another opportunity which they capitalised on with Centre Sosaia Feki crossing over and the Sharks had a 12-0 lead.
Cronulla were in again in the 28th minute when lock forward Tyrone Peachey broke through a poor one on one tackle to score and the Sharks had a handy 18-0 lead.
On the stroke of half time the Bulldogs were back in the match when a short side surge by Drury Low found Jake Foster in support and the rangy second rower raced 30 metres to the tryline and with Bryson Goodwin's conversion, the halftime score was 18-6.
Barry Ward's side would have been buoyed at half time to be only behind by 12 and running with the wind in the second half, knew that scoring first was vital.
But on Cronulla's first set of the second half Chad Townsend broke through more poor defence to set up full back Issac Gordon to score and the Sharks were out to a 24-6 lead.
The Sharks were doing the small things correct, getting to their kick and forcing drop outs. The Bulldogs needed something special and that came through second rower James Gavet who had returned from his NRL debut the week before. Gavet picked up the ball from dummy half and beat 4 defenders in 20 metres charge to the line to reduce the score to 24-10 after 52 minutes. Bryson Goodwins conversion made the score 24-12.
The Bulldogs were in again on the very next set when Ray Moujalli crashed through the middle of the park and found Chad Isles in support. Five Eight Isles found Brett Lane out wide and the centre crossed over for a converted try and the margin was now 6 with 15 minutes of the second half gone.
Both side fought tooth and nail for the next 15 minutes and it was a Bulldogs handling error near their line that was ultimately going to prove costly as Cronulla half back Chad Townsend calmly potted as field goal for a 25-18 lead with 10 minutes on the clock left.
Cronulla iced their win with a try in the dying moments when former Bulldog Jon Green carried three players over the line under the posts and the Sharks had wrapped up a 31-18 victory.
Best for the Sharks were lock forward Tyrone Peachey and half back Chad Townsend, whilst for the Bulldogs Jake Foster was a constant threat and Harlan Alaalatoa worked tirelessly.
For Bulldogs coach, a win would have virtually sown up the minor premiership so the loss would have been disappointing.
The Bulldogs still sit equal first with North Sydney, with Windsor a point behind in third and cannot afford another hiccup with two rounds remaining for that vital top two position. The Bulldogs next meet the Auckland Vulcans on Saturday in the sides first game at Belmore Sports Ground in over two months, with a 3:00pm kick off. With the NRL and NYC sides in Canberra on Friday night, members and fans looking for their footy fix are encouraged to come out to Belmore and support the NSW Cup side on Saturday in a vital match in the lead up to the VB NSW Cup final series.
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 18
Tries: Brett Lane, Jake Foster, James Gavet
Goals: Bryson Goodwin (3)
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 31
Tries: Issac Gordon, Tyrone Peachey, Rory Kostjasyn, Sosaia Feki, Jon Green
Goals: Chad Townsend (5)
Field Goal: Chad Townsend
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