Memorable Match: 1998 Preliminary Final
The Bulldogs went on to win the 1998 Preliminary Final 32-20 in extra-time, after trailing 18-6 late in the second half. Re-live the final moments of this great comeback.
The famous fightback was stewing and with ten minutes and 27 seconds remaining on the clock Polla Mounter got it started as he crashed over to score. Halligan rushed the conversion attempt and was unsuccessful but the blue-and-whites were underway.
With the scoreboard now reading 18-6 in favour of Parramatta the crowd started to come alive as that fighting Canterbury spirit began to show.
From the proceeding kick-off the Bulldogs showed much promise as they sent the ball left early. An overlap was created as Talau found space but a wayward offload found the hands of a Parramatta player.
The Eels then got set for the field goal but the attempt from John Simon sailed just left of the post and with seven minutes remaining Canterbury were still in with a sniff.
The Bulldogs then worked the ball up-field and on the back of some great lead-up work from the forwards, Rod Silva was haring away to score.
Second row forward Robert Relf popped an offload only Silva could see coming as the speedy fullback latched onto the ball and raced 45 metres to score out wide. Halligan was cool under pressure and nailed the conversion to bring the Dogs within a converted try.
The crowd of over 36,000 were buzzing and the Bulldogs were barking as the clock ticked away.
The roll-on continued for Canterbury and on the back of a stripping penalty they found themselves just 30 metres out from the Parramatta line with just under four minutes remaining.
Parramatta were out on their feet and the Bulldogs could smell blood. As the clocked ticked over 77 minutes the Bulldogs were in again, this time through centre Willie Talau who crashed over adjacent to the left corner post.
What unfolded next will be etched in each of the 36,841 spectators memories forever as Daryl Halligan lined up the sideline conversion.
With the ball sitting 30 centimetres in from the touch line and 22 metres out from the try line, Halligan studied the kick, moved in and forced extra-time with a heart stopping conversion.
With less than a minute on the clock, Parramatta's Paul Carriage attempted to win his team a 20 metre restart by grounding the ball whilst having one foot in-goal and one foot in touch. Referee Bill Harrigan ruled the ball had stopped which meant a Parramatta line drop-out.
From there the Bulldogs took a shot at field goal through Robert Relf but were unsuccessful and regular time appeared to be over at 18-18.
Enter Paul Carriage.
The Parramatta fullback retrieved the wayward field goal attempt and as the siren sounded he punted the ball from his own ten metre line down to the halfway line where Rod Silva handed the ball to Craig Polla Mounter.
Carriage will be thanking the football gods for what happened next as Polla Mounter attempted a 49 metre field goal and appeared to win Canterbury the match in dramatic circumstances. However the video referee was called upon and ruled the ball had gone just under the crossbar.
Extra-time was needed to decide this battle. Canterbury had all the momentum and it was evident from the opening set-of-six as the Bulldogs rolled the ball down-field and slotted an easy one-pointer through Craig Polla Mounter to take the lead for the very first time in the match.
In the 4th minute of extra-time the curse of Carriage re-appeared as he unnecessarily caught a cross-field bomb and was bundled into touch just ten metres out from his own line.
From the scrum the Bulldogs sent the ball left and took just one tackle to set themselves up. From dummy-half the little master Polla Mounter dummied, stepped and ducked his way over to score. Daryl Halligan ensured Canterbury went ahead by more than a converted try as he slotted the easy conversion to take the score to 25-18.
The remainder of the opening half in extra-time saw both sides play end-to-end football. No change was made to the scoreboard however and Canterbury had a seven-point lead with the final ten minute stanza to come.
First blood again went the way of Canterbury in extra-time after yet another Paul Carriage blunder. Canterbury halfback Corey Hughes sent the ball high across field and Carriage took the ball safely only to put a foot into touch as he set off.
From the proceeding scrum Canterbury were able to force a Parramatta line drop-out and it was Craig Polla Mounter yet again to hit the one-pointer to give the Bulldogs an eight-point lead with just under five minutes remaining.
Parramatta could only manage a further two points following a dangerous tackle by Jason Hetherington on former Bulldog Jim Dymock. The penalty goal was Parramatta's first points since the 63rd minute but it did get them within a converted try of Canterbury.
With the scoreboard now reading 26-20 the game was still somewhat in the balance. However the Bulldogs were certainly much fresher and continued to have the momentum.
On the back of a Parramatta error the Bulldogs put the Eels to sleep with just 90 seconds remaining when Travis Norton crashed over from close range.
Daryl Halligan landed the tough conversion, completing a memorable victory and securing the Bulldogs a spot in the 1998 decider.