The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs made it back to back victories with a convincing 40-4 victory over the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium in front of 23,453 fans.
Coach Des Hasler was happy that the side was able to get some continuity.
“It was good to get some continuity in our play,” Hasler said. “We’ll need to continue working on our defence, I’m a bit confused about some of the interpretations that the referees are coming up with out there.
It was good to have those two guys (James Graham and Sam Kasiano) out there. They give us that good rotation and they both seemed to have picked up where they left off last year.”
There was just the one change to the side named earlier in the week with big front rower Sam Kasiano coming into the side with martin Taupau being the man to be left out. It was the 21-year-olds first appearance of the year after injuring his ankle in the pre-season.
Penalties are vital in a match and the Bulldogs earned two penalties back to back put the blue and whites in a dominant attacking position. There was great structure being shown by the home side and a swift move to the right gave the Bulldogs the opening four pointer of the night. Five-eighth Josh Reynolds took the ball across field and with the returning Benji Marshall jamming in, in defence, Reynolds was able to tip the ball on to Tony Williams who went through a yawning gap to score his first try in the blue and white. Trent Hodkinson again had the kicking duties for the match and converted to give the Bulldogs a 6-nil lead after nine minutes.
It was another 13 minutes before we saw any more points were scored but it was the Bulldogs who went back to back, much to the delight of the blue and white faithful. The first one saw the Bulldogs work to the last tackle and Hodkinson then put the ball in the air and it was a contest between Mitch Brown and Matt Utai with both missing. As the ball came down it hit Utai on the boot and went out into open space with Captain Michael Ennis winning the race to the ball to go over untouched for his second try of the season. Hodkinson converted to extend the lead out to 12-nil.
Just moments later it was Reynolds the orchestrator once again with the 23-year-old putting centre Tim Lafai into space. The Campbelltown Warriors junior then turned on the pace and when he came to James Tedesco he passed the ball outside to Sam Perrett who went over in the south-western corner to register his fifth try of season 2012. Hodkinson smartly converted from the western touchline to make the lead 18-nil after 26 minutes.
On the stroke of half-time the Tigers made an error giving the Bulldogs great field position and they put the black and golds away with the fourth try of the night being scored by Lafai. Reynolds was again involved but it was Ennis the feeder to Kasiano who got the ball out the back to Reynolds who then gave it to Lafai who showed too much pace for the sliding defence to go over to score his first try of the season. Hodkinson couldn’t convert from the sideline and the bulldogs went to the break leading 22-nil.
Not known for his defence it was Hodkinson who put on a big hit on Joel Reddy forcing the ball to come free and giving the Bulldogs possession just 25m out from the Tigers line. On just the first tackle from the scrum it was given to Williams and he was able to shrug of his initial defender and pass it on to Lafai who again caused drama for the Tigers left hand side defence. After he beat a few men he got the ball to Perrett who got across for his second try of the night. Hodkinson beautifully converted to put the lead out to 34-nil after 66 minutes.
Three minutes later the Tigers were able to register their first points of the clash off the back of their courageous captain Robbie Farah. He managed to catch the Bulldogs defence on the back foot and Farah split them and found himself in open space. As he reached Barba as the last line of defence he had a flying James Tedesco who received the ball and ran the remaining 25m to go over and score. Curtis Sironen missed the conversion to close the gap and the score being 34-4.
In the 77th minute the Bulldogs were able to cross for their seventh try of the night, this time the benefactor was left winger Mitch Brown. It was a slick back line movement that ended with Josh Morris drawing in Utai and getting the ball to Brown who beat Tedesco to the north-western corner to score. Hodkinson beautifully converted to make the score 40-4.
The final stages were played out with a few chances but the tigers were able to hold on and not give any more points away.
BULLDOGS 40 (Williams, Ennis, Perrett 2, Lafai, Reynolds, Brown Tries; Hodkinson 6 Goals)
TIGERS 4 (Tedesco Try)
At: ANZ Stadium