Bulldogs too strong on Queen's Birthday
An accidental knock-on and regather in the lead up to Will Hopoate's try midway through the second half has help seal the Bulldogs' 34-16 win over the Dragons on Monday afternoon.
In the unlikeliest comparisons in rugby league history, Williams evoked memories of Dally Messenger from over a century ago who forced a rule change when he used to throw and regather the ball over opposition defences.
Referee Jared Maxell told Red V skipper Gareth Widdop that there "was no deliberate push forward" by Williams – who initially passed it backwards before it came off his own left hand – and that there was no knock-on.
That was due to the ball not touching anyone or anything other than Williams who regained it before passing on to Hopoate – which NRL officials confirmed at full-time that by the letter of law was the correct decision.
Joining Diego Maradona and Thierry Henry in what still seems an implausible trio, Williams told Triple M at full-time that he thought "god helped him out" with the all-important try assist.
Up 20-16 at the time after Hopoate put Rona over in the corner just three minutes prior, the Bulldogs' win was solidified through a Kerrod Holland penalty goal and Josh Reynolds try in the final 15 minutes.
While it wasn't to be for the Dragons, they got off to the best start possible thanks to a bullocking 35-metre Joel Thompson run which allowed him to pass off to Kurt Mann for the game's first try within 10 minutes.
It was as good as it got for the Dragons in the first half, when only five minutes later a late offload to Kerrod Holland from seemingly tackled Bulldogs fullback Will Hopoate put veteran winger Sam Perrett over in the corner.
Missed tackles (25) marred the Dragons in the first 40 minutes and it was no better exemplified than in the 28th minute when Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa scurried his way between three Dragons to score from dummy half.
Three minutes later a short shift of play from their own half sent Curtis Rona down field with only Jason Nightingale in sight. After the Bulldogs winger bamboozled the Dragons custodian, he was able to offload to try-scorer Moses Mbye who was in hot pursuit.
A Tyson Frizell try four minutes before half-time offered the Dragons some relief when the Origin hopeful proved the main benefactor from a deflected Gareth Widdop grubber.
The Dragons started off the second half much like they did the first through Mann, who had to work hard to bring in a Benji Marshall kick just inches from the dead ball-line in the 48th minute to equal the scoreline up at 16-all.
Yet it would be a touch of divine intervention that would prove the Dragons' undoing by game's end.
Canterbury Bulldogs 34 (Sam Perrett, Michael Lichaa, Moses Mbye, Curtis Rona, Will Hopoate, Josh Reynolds tries; Kerrod Holland 5 goals) defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 16 (Kurt Mann 2, Tyson Frizell tries; Gareth Widdop 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Crowd: 20,153. Half-time: Bulldogs 16-12.
Words: Jack Brady , National Correspondent , NRL.com