Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs tonight suffered a 41-10 defeat at the hands of the Brisbane Broncos in front of 28,344 fans at Suncorp Stadium.
After a run of losses, the return of Josh Morris and Aiden Tolman was a welcome sight for Bulldogs supporters, adding strike power out wide and grunt up the middle. Their return was at the expense of Moses Mbye and Reni Maitua. Mitch Brown also returned on the wing in the place of Chase Stanley, who dislocated his shoulder against Penrith last weekend.
It was a bright start to the Bulldog’s Round 22 fixture, scoring first via Josh Reynolds but it was the only time they led with the Broncos eventually running in seven tries to the Bulldog’s two.
There was no warming into the match with both teams playing an attacking brand of football from the outset, resulting in plenty of end-to-end action. However, it was the Bulldogs who opened the scoring in the 12th minute after a Josh Reynolds kick was kept alive down the right-hand side before Brown found himself in space. He drew in the last defender and put Reynolds over. Trent Hodkinson knocked over the extras for a 6-0 lead.
Sam Kasiano limped off the field with an ankle injury soon after and didn’t return for the remainder of the night.
The Broncos peppered the Bulldog’s line for the next period with Alex Glenn losing the ball over the line in 18th minute after a great covering tackle from Josh Jackson. Skipper Michael Ennis then produced a try saver of his own, coming up with an important ankle tap after Ben Hunt stripped the ball from Tony Williams and streaked clear up field. From the ensuing set of six, Josh McGuire also lost the ball over the line.
There was no denying the Broncos in the 24th minute though, with Dale Copley finishing off a quick backline movement which caught the Bulldogs short. Corey Parker converted to level it up at 6-6.
In the 27th minute the Broncos were at it again with Daniel Vidot bustling his way over in the corner. Sam Perrett looked to have pulled off a miraculous try saver but the video referee gave the winger the benefit of the doubt. Parker missed the conversion leaving it 10-6.
A mistake in the 34th minute from Dale Finucane on the first tackle, just 10m out from his own line, proved costly with Ben Hunt punishing the error. Hunt converted his own try to extend the lead to 16-6.
Ben Barba then capped the first half with the Bronco’s fourth try with only one minute left on the clock. Hunt sprayed his conversion leaving it 20-6 at the break.
Jackson got the Bulldogs off to the perfect start in the second half, capitalising on some fancy footwork from Tim Lafai earlier in the set. Hodkinson failed to convert, leaving things 20-10 in the 48th minute.
Another mistake deep in their own territory, this time from Sam Perrett, again proved costly for the Bulldogs with Corey Oates crossing in the 55th minute courtesy of a short ball from Matt Gillett. Parker added the two for a 26-10 lead.
The Bulldogs attempted to hit back with a Tony Williams offload to Hodkinson setting the half-back free. He elected to kick through for a chasing Reynolds but the Broncos defence recovered in time to thwart the danger.
Broncos were awarded a penalty next to the posts in the 65th minute for offside and elected to take the two, extending their lead to 18.
Dale Finucane left the field earlier with a concussion knock, which saw the Bulldogs finish the game with 15 players.
Hooker Andrew McCullough soon after looked to seal the Broncos win, snapping a field goal over in the 67th minute extending the lead to 29-10.
Plenty of niggle from Reynolds in the second half resulted in the Bulldog’s playmaker sent to the sin bin late in the match having earlier been put on report for tripping.
Sam Thaiday and Hunt both crossed again in the final 10 minutes which saw the score line blowout to 41-10 at the end of 80 minutes.
Bulldogs next Friday night will be looking to get their season back on track, when they are hosted by Parramatta at ANZ Stadium. Kick-off at 7:45pm local time.
BRONCOS 41 (Hunt 2, Copley, Vidot, Barba, Oates, Thaiday Tries; Parker 3, Hunt 2 Goals; McCullough Field Goal) def. BULLDOGS 10 (Reynolds, Jackson Tries; Hodkinson 1 Goals)
At: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane