The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs tonight tried valiantly against the Roosters in front of 19,088 fans but a late flurry of points saw the score blow out to 32-12.
Bulldogs were forced to ring in the changes with Trent Hodkinson, Josh Reynolds, Tony Williams and Josh Morris on Origin duty. Krisnan Inu and Corey Thompson came into the backline with Chase Stanley moving to five-eighth. Moses Mbye was given the halfback duties while Reni Maitua started from the bench in his first appearance for the Bulldogs in the NRL since 2008.
Chasing an eighth straight win, the Bulldogs fought fire with fire for much of the match which was a fast and physical encounter. There was only two points in it at half time but a few late tries saw the Roosters run out comprehensive winners, with the final score line not doing the efforts of the understrength Bulldogs team justice.
The video referee was called into action in just the 2nd minute for a possible Roosters four-pointer but no try was the call with a knock on ruled. It was all Roosters in the opening 10 minutes with the Bulldogs having their backs to the walls but dug in to repel the attacks.
A penalty to the Bulldogs in the 11th minute offered up their first real attacking opportunity, starting their set 25m out from the Rooster’s line. Mbye looked to have scored on the last tackle but the video referee controversially denied the try.
On the back of a repeat set in the 17th minute, James Maloney kicked to the corner and Rooster’s winger Nene Macdonald leaped highest before planting the ball down. Maloney was unsuccessful with the conversion leaving the score 4-0.
A one on one strip followed by a penalty gave Roosters the chance to add to their tally and Sonny Bill Williams crossed in the 23rd minute. Maloney added the two for a 10-0 lead.
It wasn’t long however, before the Bulldogs hit back with Mitch Brown finishing off a short-side backline move highlighted by a great ball from Mbye. Inu was back on kicking duties and after his signature smile brought a cheer from the home fans, he knocked it over the middle to make it 10-6. It also brought up 500 career points for Inu in the NRL.
The pressure continued to mount on the Roosters with Bulldogs driving at their line on the back of a string of repeat sets. Tempers boiled over a minute before half time after skipper Michael Ennis was caught in a high tackle. Bulldogs took the two and headed to the sheds 10-8 behind but with all the momentum.
James Graham was again outstanding in the first half with 11 hitups for 75m and 16 tackles. David Klemmer and Sam Kasiano also added plenty of go forward coming off the bench. It’s also worth mentioning that the Bulldogs showed great control in the opening 40 minutes, completing 18 from 19 of their sets.
Bulldogs lost Sam Perrett to concussion late in the first half with Josh Jackson starting the second half in the centres and Brown covering full-back. Maitua also started.
Roosters began the second half much like they started the first in peppering the Bulldog’s line and eventually broke through in the 48th minute with Anthony Minichiello scoring in the corner. Maloney failed to convert leaving the score 14-8.
Perrett returned to the field soon after and made his presence felt immediately, taking a bomb to defuse another Roosters raid.
In the 57th minute Bulldogs struck back with Brown diving on an Mbye grubber to bring up a double on the night, doing well to ground the ball before it crossed the dead ball line. Inu struck the post with his effort, to leave the Bulldogs trailing by two at 14-12.
A mistake in their own half then proved costly for the Bulldogs with Williams putting Shaun Kenny-Dowall through a hole to score next to the posts. Maloney added the two and with 15 minutes remaining it was 20-12.
A Mitchell Pearce 40/20 from the subsequent set put the Roosters on the attack again and with Tim Lafai sent to the sin bin for a professional foul, Williams took advantage to barge over in the 67th minute. Maloney converted for a 26-12 lead.
Roosters crossed again in the 71st minute with Minichiello collecting his second of the match. Maloney made no mistake in making it 32-12 and that’s the way the scores stayed.
Bulldogs have the bye in Round 12, with the boys back in action in Round 13 against the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval, in what shapes to be a top of the table clash.
ROOSTERS 32 (Williams 2, Minichiello 2, Macdonald, Kenny-Dowall Tries; Maloney 4 Goals) def. BULLDOGS 12 (Brown 2 Tries; Inu 2 Goals)
At: ANZ Stadium