Bulldogs continue valiant Titans' woes
Even the fierce figure of David Klemmer felt the need to apologise after Titans half Ash Taylor completed the club's week from hell by passing to Josh Morris on his own try-line to seal the Bulldogs' 26-14 win at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.
On the back of their 30-point haul against the Sea Eagles last weekend the Bulldogs bolted out of the blocks and despite losing both Moses Mbye and Brett Morris during the course of the game had little trouble disposing of Gold Coast, Morris's try with five minutes to play the final insult in a week the home side can't forget soon enough.
Easily surpassing last week's first half of 12 points that was their previous best for the season, the Bulldogs set up the win with 20 points in the opening 40 minutes, Will Hopoate breaking a try-scoring drought that stretched back to Round 18 last season with a double and Klemmer also getting his first for the season.
The only negative in a first half that saw the Bulldogs chant echo around the stadium was the loss of halfback Mbye after 17 minutes to a head knock but the makeshift halves pairing of Matt Frawley and Josh Jackson were made to look like Lamb and Mortimer by a Titans team that had apparently drawn no intensity or resolve from the sacking of coach Neil Henry earlier in the week.
A running Mbye exposed the Titans' left edge in the 14th minute before finding Michael Lichaa in support on his inside who in turn passed to Hopoate to race the remaining 20 metres to score under the posts for the first points of the afternoon.
Canterbury went 99 metres from the first two tackles of the next set but would lose Mbye for the remaining 63 minutes of the game due to a head knock inflicted by Titans prop Jarrod Wallace that may catch the attention of the match review committee.
Sensing a fragile Titans defence Klemmer was the next Bulldogs player lining up to score their first tries of the season, barging over alongside the right upright from a short pass by Lichaa and when Brenko Lee attracted three Titans defenders before unloading to an unmarked Marcelo Montoya the Bulldogs had bolted out to a 16-0 lead after just 23 minutes.
The Titans saw Kevin Proctor walk off for a concussion assessment in the 34th minute and any chance of winning their final home game of the season followed shortly thereafter when Hopoate scored his second of the half.
A Bulldogs' shift to the left went to ground and forced Brett Morris go back to fetch it but Dale Copley failed to wrap him up and he released brother Josh down the left touchline who in turn passed to Hopoate in support.
Down on their luck as well as the scoreboard after 40 minutes the Titans turned to their Hail Mary five minutes into the second half and got on the scoreboard, Taylor's kick to the corner batted back for Tyrone Roberts to regather and scoot around the Bulldogs defence to score in the left corner.
A play that included kicks from both Jarryd Hayne and Taylor resulted in Anthony Don scoring in the corner to reduce the deficit to 10 points but with forwards filling in out wide the Bulldogs showed enough spirit to win two games on the trot for the first time since Round 7.
The Titans had their own injury dramas with Dale Copley coming off early in the second half with a groin injury, Nathan Peats racing from the field clutching his shoulder with 22 minutes to play and Morgan Boyle taken from the field to receive treatment for a nasty head gash.
The energy levels of the Titans lifted significantly for a short period but two awful pieces of play from Hayne stalled any momentum, starting with a kick out on the full that brought a loud cheer and then a lazy forward pass to winger Will Zillman that summed up his involvement when all eyes were on how he would respond after such a controversial week.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 26 (Will Hopoate 2, David Klemmer, Marcelo Montoya, Josh Morris tries; Adam Elliott 2, Moses Mbye goals) def. Gold Coast Titans 14 (Tyrone Roberts, Anthony Don, Phillip Sami tries; Roberts 1 goal) at Cbus Super Stadium. Crowd: 10,887. Half-time: Bulldogs 20-0. Holden Cup: Bulldogs 28-20.