Bulldogs find their bark in the Holden Cup
The Bulldogs' Holden Cup side produced their best performance of 2016 to stun an understrength Roosters side 46-16 at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Separated by eight competition points heading into the round, the Bulldogs overcame an early try to the visitors to run in five of their own to help notch their highest score of the season.
The Roosters were dealt a blow with Jayden Nikorima (hamstring) and Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck (leg) both ruled out, but were buoyed by the Marschke twins lining up in the halves for the first time together at Holden Cup level.
Canterbury took advantage of the backline reshuffle to wreak havoc on the edges in the opening half before the game petered out after the break.
A penalty for a late hit on Ben Marschke from the opening kick of the game gifted the Roosters first points of the afternoon with elusive centre Joseph Manu putting on some footwork to open the scoring after just two minutes.
That setback did little to dissuade the Bulldogs who took advantage of a Roosters error to run in 26 unanswered points in the space of 12 minutes to stun the fourth best side in the NYC.
Fullback Josh Bergamin got the ball rolling in the sixth minute with a show-and-go to score in the left corner before five-eighth Adam Keighran showed tremendous strength to fight his way through three tacklers to score next to the posts.
The blue and whites were in again three minutes later when Bergamin sliced straight through before linking up with back-rower D'Rhys Miller who backed up to score his side's third of the afternoon.
A bust by Reimis Smith from the next set was finished off by Kiko Manu two plays later after latching onto a grubber from Keighran, before another long-range break by Miller finished up with winger Marcelo Montoya crossing out wide to complete the scoring spree.
An error by the Bulldogs allowed the Tricolours to reacquaint themselves with the Steeden after a seemingly endless defensive effort, and incredibly they hit back with two tries of their own to breathe life into the contest.
A kick from Marschke looked to be going dead, but a miracle bat back by Kiah Cooper found Ryan King loitering in the in-goal to touch down after 22 minutes.
Back-to-back penalties put the Roosters straight back on the attack and a crafty pass from Grant Garvey found big man Luke Chalker who barged over from close range.
A 26-16 scoreline at the break would have flattered the visitors and they wouldn't be so lucky as Bergamin popped up on the right to send Jack Gibbons over untouched for his side's sixth try in the shadows of half-time.
The change of ends did little to stem Canterbury's momentum as a wicked bounce from a seemingly innocuous kick gifted Gibbons his second try of the afternoon just a minute into the second stanza.
It took 13 minutes but the Bulldogs were the next side to score with halfback – and former Raider – Lachlan Lewis throwing a huge dummy before running 40 metres to push the score out to 42-16.
Montoya strolled over to complete his double five minutes from full-time to round out the scoring to help the Bulldogs snap a two-game losing streak and keep in touch with the top eight.
Bulldogs 46 (Marcelo Montoya 2, Jack Gibbons 2, Josh Bergamin, Adam Keighran, D'Rhys Miller, Kiko Manu, Lachlan Lewis tries; Josh Bergamin 5 goals) defeated Roosters 16 (Joseph Manu, Ryan King, Luke Chalker tries; Jesse Marschke 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Half-time: 32-16 Bulldogs.