Words by Martin Gabor, National Correspondent , NRL.com
A hat-trick to Bulldogs winger Tyrone Phillips has lifted the blue and whites to a convincing 32-20 win over the Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The 12-point defeat leaves the Roosters' finals hopes hanging by a thread with the Tricolours requiring at least 10 wins from their final 13 matches if they want to feature in the post season.
Canterbury's win came on the back of an utterly dominant first half that saw them race out to an 18-0 lead courtesy of 68 per cent possession and an impressive completion rate.
David Klemmer was outstanding for the victors, running for 216 metres from 26 carries, while Kerrod Holland was perfect with the boot in a performance that would have made Hazem El Masri proud.
Absolutely nothing went the Roosters' way early on with Aidan Guerra driven into touch from the kick-off while Daniel Tupou knocked on from a line dropout in a disastrous opening 30 minutes.
Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was placed on report for making dangerous contact on Moses Mbye, while the Bulldogs lost Sam Kasiano and Tim Browne to concussion.
Josh Jackson produced his best halfback impersonation with a magnificent cutout pass to send Phillips over for his second try in as many weeks to open the scoring after six minutes.
The Bulldogs went close to extending the lead 10 minutes later when some incredible work by Curtis Rona almost resulted in a freakish try to Josh Morris, only for the State of Origin hopeful to lose the ball in the process of scoring.
The Roosters were dealt a blow midway through the first half when star fullback Latrell Mitchell was sent to the sin bin after failing to release Josh Reynolds after doing well originally to chase down the Bulldogs five-eighth.
A forward pass from Kerrod Holland was the only thing that stopped Phillips strolling in for his second, while Rona should have crossed shortly after but had his infield pass knocked down when he should have dummied.
The Bulldogs finally capitalised on their numerical advantage with a loose pass eventually ending up with Holland, who made no mistakes this time around to send Phillips over for his double.
The Fijian international would have had a hat-trick if he had managed to stay in the field of play moments later; instead he got to celebrate a special try to Reynolds.
With fans still cheering on the Phillips four-pointer, Reynolds did it all himself, stepping off his right foot twice to score a stunning solo try that blew the proverbial roof off ANZ Stadium.
Down by 18 with two minutes to go in the first half, the Roosters somehow found another gear to strike back twice to give them a glimmer of hope at the break.
First the Tricolours marched downfield with Mitchell Pearce releasing Guerra with a perfectly-timed pass before the makeshift centre offloaded for Tupou to score.
Incredibly there was still time for the reigning minor premiers to launch one more attacking raid and they made it count. A quick tap from Jake Friend on half way found Pearce before the halfback put Boyd Cordner into a gaping hole. With time expiring, the back-rower looked inside to find Mitchell in support, the fullback touching down as the siren sounded in the background.
It didn't take long for the Bulldogs to reassert their authority after the break with Holland knocking over a penalty goal 90 seconds into the second half before a deflected kick and some quick thinking by Rona to put the ball on the toe saw the winger extend the lead four minutes later.
Mitchell appeared to have pegged one back for the Roosters but the rookie fullback was denied a double with the bunker ruling Blake Ferguson had interfered with Morris in the lead-up.
The Roosters fullback was in the thick of it again in the 62nd minute when he supported on the inside before offloading to Mitchell Aubusson for a terrific team try, only for the bunker to again overturn the on field decision; this time for obstruction.
It was a case of third time lucky for Mitchell whose persistence was rewarded 12 minutes from full-time to narrow the gap to 10 and give his side a chance of victory.
Fittingly an error by the Roosters eventually killed off the contest with Phillips punishing an Isaac Liu mistake to score his first treble in the NRL before Ryan Matterson made up for an error-riddled first half to complete a wonderful team effort.
Bulldogs 32 (Tyrone Phillips 3, Josh Reynolds, Curtis Rona tries; Kerrod Holland 6 goals) defeated Roosters 20 (Latrell Mitchell 2, Daniel Tupou, Ryan Matterson tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Half-time: 18-10. Crowd: 17,704. Sin bin: Latrell Mitchell (professional foul). On report: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (dangerous contact).