FBF: Round 18, 2012
Some dynamic and at times breathtaking play from Ben Barba and Josh Morris, coupled with some resolute defence has seen the Bulldogs record a 32-20 victory over the Wests Tigers at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
Speaking after the game, Morris said he has put the disappointment of New South Wales State of Origin loss behind him, and is now intent on leading the Bulldogs charge towards the back end of the season.
"It was heartbreaking on Wednesday night, but now my focus is back to the Bulldogs," Morris said.
"Every game is tough - it's still physical. In that first half, we probably dug ourselves into a bit of a hole, and we turned it around in the second half which was very pleasing."
There was plenty of feeling in the opening stages of the match, with both sides making their presence felt.
A frantic passage of play in the 7th minute almost resulted in first points for the Bulldogs, but some desperate defence from the Tigers first denied David Stagg and then Michael Ennis in the following play.
At the conclusion of the set, Lote Tuqiri was taken from the field with an arm injury.
The Tigers began to go on the attack, and opened the scoring through Joel Reddy in the 11th minute. A late inclusion for Matt Utai, Reddy climbed high to claim a kick from Benji Marshall.
The Tigers halfback couldn't convert, leaving the score at 4-0.
Penalties and mistakes were giving the home side plenty of ball in their attacking half, but the Bulldogs defence was up to the task, showing real determination to hold the Tigers out under significant pressure.
A penalty in the 30th minute gave the Bulldogs the ball in a good position, and a chance to post their first points.
They didn't disappoint in the resulting set. Ben Barba created space on the left for Josh Morris, and that was all the centre needed, powering his way through four defenders to level the scores.
The Tigers finished the half with another four points, when Beau Ryan collected a freakish banana kick from Marshall to score under the posts. Marshall added the extras from right in front to leave the score at 10-4 at the break.
The Bulldogs burst out of the blocks in the second stanza, scoring a brilliant long-range try within the first minute of the half.
Barba made the initial break, finding Morris who in-turn linked up with Josh Reynolds who dived over under the posts.
And it was Barba who created the next try, again linking up with Morris. A handy pass around the back of Marshall found the NSW centre, who scored his second of the night.
However the Tigers responded through Chris Lawrence in the 53rd minute, with the centre showing great individual strength to carry two Canterbury players across the line, just planting the ball before being bundled into touch.
Barba was proving to be too hard for the Tigers to handle, and scored his first of the night just six minutes later, wrapping around on the left to dive over.
The Tigers continued to keep themselves in the contest, with Masada Iosefa dummying and breaking through the Bulldogs defence to score in the corner.
Marshall converted from the sideline to level the scores at 20-all, setting up a grandstand finish with 15 minutes remaining.
The points continued to flow, with Inu deceiving three defenders to record the Bulldogs fifth try of the night moments after.
Importantly, he converted his own try to give the Bulldogs a six point buffer with 10 minutes to go.
And they went on with it, with Reynolds capping off the victory with his second for the night in the 80th minute.