Bulldogs End Storm 2004 Season

Re-live the 43-18 win over the Melbourne Storm in the 2004 semi-final.

The Bulldogs have ended Melbourne's finals campaign for the second straight season, setting up a preliminary final meeting with defending NRL premiers Penrith next Saturday night.

The Storm's five-year drought at the Sydney Football Stadium continued as they were sent packing with a 43-18 drubbing.

It is the end of the road for retiring Melbourne skipper Stephen Kearney, while Warriors-bound Bulldogs captain Steve Price gets at least another week of finals action.

Crafty half-back Brent Sherwin was in sparkling form for the Bulldogs, setting up a couple of tries as he atoned for last week's ordinary effort in the shock loss to North Queensland.

Johnathan Thurston, headed for the Cowboys next season, was impressive off the bench with two tries including the last in the dying seconds which put the icing on Canterbury's cake.

The Bulldogs finished with seven tries to three, and never looked troubled after leading 22-6 at half-time.


Melbourne winger Matt King had the first scoring chance against the Bulldogs only two minutes in, but was ruled by video referee Chris Ward to have knocked on in the corner after Bulldogs full-back Luke Patten had toed the ball into his chest.

The Bulldogs then struck the first blow a minute later, with hooker Adam Perry finishing a bust he started.

Five minutes later the Dogs were in again when Sherwin kicked for himself on the fifth, regathered and shot a wide pass out to second rower Andrew Ryan who simply had to plant the ball.

The Bulldogs had all the momentum and their third try was on the board only two minutes later when Hazem El Masri crossed, becoming the first player to score 300 points in a season.

Tony Grimaldi was put into a hole by Sherwin, who recollected the ball on the wraparound and flung a fantastic pass out the back into the arms of Ben Harris, who fed it to El Masri.

The Storm hit back rather fortuitously in the 17th minute when evasive number seven Matt Orford kicked on the fifth and it ricocheted off the legs of team-mate Rodney Howe, who was offside.

Referee Paul Simpkins allowed play to continue and centre Steve Bell ended up with the ball and streaked up the middle of the ruck to score under the posts.

King was denied another try on the half-hour mark when he was ruled to have knocked on while going up for the ball with Patten, and five minutes later Willie Tonga struck a telling blow at the other end.

Storm five-eighth Scott Hill, so damaging in his side's win over Brisbane last weekend, knocked on at dummy half and was made to pay.

Price opted to take the tap and his decision was vindicated when, on the back of a further set of six for an infringement on Sonny Bill Williams, Tonga scored in the corner after King was caught out of position.

The Storm were starting to stutter and their hopes were extinguished with two quick Bulldogs tries early in the second stanza.

Thurston crossed in the 48th minute and four minutes later Patten was over in the right-hand corner, capitalising on excellent play by Thurston who evaded Hill after the Storm player rushed too quickly off his line.

El Masri's sideline kick also gave him the record for most conversions in a season.

Melbourne gave their fans hope with two tries in as many minutes, Bell flashing through for his second before Slater finished off a break by Kearney.

But a penalty to El Masri and field goal to Sherwin meant the Storm had to score more than three converted tries to win, and as time ran out and their forwards began to tire, Thurston took advantage.