The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs have fallen 24-18 to the Sydney Roosters in a tight finish at ANZ Stadium.
The Bulldogs made a great comeback in the second half, scoring two tries to narrow a 14-point half time deficit before Mitchell Pearce scored a late try to seal the win for the visitors.
In a tough first half for the home side, the Roosters dominated possession and had the Bulldogs on the back foot with a number of repeat sets. They scored three converted tries to open up a comfortable lead after Josh Morris had opened the scoring with a lovely try in the seventh minute.
In the lead up, Michael Lichaa made a great run from dummy half and offloaded to Will Hopoate who burst through the defence to put the Dogs on the front foot. From the next play, Moses Mybe delivered a lovely cut out ball to Josh Morris in space who sold a dummy to go over untouched.
The Roosters then hit back with three quick tries. Daniel Tupou went over in the left corner after some great lead up work from Latrell Mitchell and Jake Friend then cleaned up a loose inside ball to score under the posts after a break from Latrell Mitchell. The Roosters then added a penalty goal and closed the half with their third try to Latrell Mitchell.
In the second half, the Dogs hit back with two good tries. Will Hopoate gave Kerrod Holland some space down the right wing with a great overhead cut out pass and Holland finished strongly to close the gap to eight.
Josh Jackson then capitalised on some tiring Roosters defence with a dummy and a great offload to Brenko Lee who went through a gap and put Matt Frawley away to get the Dogs within two with 20 minutes remaining.
From there, the Bulldogs pressed but were not able to find the match winner and after a number of repeat sets, Mitchell Pearce iced the game for the visitors with a try next to the posts in the 76th minute.
For the Bulldogs, Michael Lichaa made a number of strong runs from dummy half and Kerrod Holland was solid receiving and returning the bulk of the Roosters’ last tackle kicks. Origin hopefuls David Klemmer and Josh Jackson also put in strong performances, with Jackson underlining his credentials with an impressive display down the right edge in the second half.
The Bulldogs face the Sharks next Saturday night at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Roosters 24 (Daniel Tupou, Jake Friend, Latrell Mitchell, Mitchell Pearce tries; Michael Gordon 4 goals) def. Bulldogs 18 (Josh Morris, Kerrod Holland, Matt Frawley tries; Kerrod Holland 3 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Half-time: 20-6. Crowd: 15,090.