The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs NSW Cup side have advanced to week two of the finals series after a 22-4 victory over the North Sydney Bears at Belmore Sports Ground.
It was four tries to one at the end of 80 minutes, with a dominant first half display from the home side proving to be the difference.
After forcing a repeat set the Bulldogs were on the attack in the 12th minute and didn’t disappoint, registering their first four-pointer of the night through halfback Jaline Graham. The half back took the ball one off the ruck and with the defence thinking he would shift it wide, he took the line on and cruised over to score. Centre Levi Dodd couldn’t convert and the score remained 4-nil.
Former Bulldog Darryl Millard came up with an error 10m out from his own line, gifting the home side a full set in enemy territory. Again, some structured play ended with a brilliant offload being thrown by skipper Adam Elliott to his halfback who bagged his second try of the night. Dodd was able to convert on this occasion, with the Bulldogs leading 10-nil after 33 minutes.
It was a perfect start to the second half with Pat O’Hanlon crossing just four minutes after the restart. It was the Wides-bound fullback Corey Thompson who used his speed and evasion to create the opportunity. Thompson was handed the ball by Jarrod McInally in a stationary position and skipped through two defenders, drew in the fullback and managed to get a pass away to O’Hanlon went on to plant the ball down under the uprights. Dodd easily converted to extend the lead out to 16-nil.
Nine minutes later the scoreboard ticked over again after a McInally four-pointer. It was a beautifully placed Matt Frawley cross-kick. McInally leaped above his opposite and came down with the ball to score in the north-west corner. Dodd converted from out wide with the scoreboard now reading 22-nil.
Moments later the Bears registered their first points of the evening when they went over to score in the south-east corner. The try couldn’t be converted, with the Bulldogs holding on to a 22-4 lead.
The final 20 minutes was a pretty dour affair with neither side really showing any true sign of that top form that got them to this position at the end of the regular season with the Bulldogs holding on for a 22-4 victory.
BULLDOGS 22 (Graham 2, O’Hanlon, McInally Tries; Dodd 3 Goals)
At: Belmore Sports Ground