Bulldogs fall to Sharks in Semi-Finals
Semi-Final - Newcastle Knights v Sydney Roosters
Jubilee Oval, Kogarah
Saturday 8 September, 5.15pm
The Newcastle Knights are through to the Preliminary Final with a dominant 27-8 performance over the Sydney Roosters.
After a shock loss to Mounties last week, the Knights flew out of the blocks when some crafty work by Tom Starling allowed Brandon Russell to isolate a defender and throw an offload to his supporting fullback Matt Cooper, who opened the scoring.
The Roosters hit back early in the second half with a determined effort by Lyndon Hills, who picked the ball up from dummy half and charged towards the line for a try.
A perfectly executed scrum play by the Knights led to their next points as they shifted the ball right-to-left, before some nice work by Cooper allowed Tex Hoy to find space and score in the corner.
The teams were going try for try when Hills scored his second when he ran a brilliant line, but it was all one way traffic from there.
Starling was involved in the next try once again as he attracted various defenders before passing to Mat Croker, who powerfully charged for the line and not withstanding anything in his way.
A beautiful left-to-right shift led to the next try, but it would be the put-down that was the most spectacular with Elijah Rasiga channelling Suliasi Vunivalu’s diving effort from the weekend.
Some great second phase play led to Cooper scoring his second, before Phoenix Crossland nailed a field goal in the final minute to seal the deal.
NEWCASTLE 27 (M Cooper 2 T Hoy M Croker E Rasiga tries; K Dark 2 goals P Crossland field goal) bt SYDNEY ROOSTERS 8 (L Hills 2 tries)
Semi-Final - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Jubilee Oval, Kogarah
Sunday 8 September, 5.30pm
Doubles to Harrison Smith and Bronson Xerri has helped the Cronulla Sharks advance into the Preliminary Final after a 30-10 victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Cronulla were first on the board thanks to some crafty work by their talent at centre, Bronson Xerri, when he evaded the Bulldogs’ defenders and sliced through, before five-eighth Jayden Millard extended that lead to 12-0 shortly afterwards.
In the do-or-die clash the Bulldogs needed to score next to halt the Sharks’ momentum and keep their season alive, and they did so with a nice left-side raid when Javvier Pitovao wrestled his way over.
Isaac Lumelume made a line-break in what was the next opportunity for points, however the Sharks couldn’t take advantage. They did, however, score points off the back of the next long range effort when Harrison Smith exploited backtracking defenders to crash over.
The try of the night came off the kick-off set; Braydon Trindall cut through the defence to make yet another line-break before he squeezed a pass that had to be inch-perfect to Fine Kula, who then got the ball to Smith who scored his second try in as many minutes.
Momentum was with the Sharks, and the strength and will of Xerri earned him his double when he ran onto an inside ball and powerfully planted the ball down with defenders grasping onto him.
Kayne Kalache scored a consolation try for the Bulldogs near the end of the game, but the Sharks had done enough to get the job done.
CRONULLA 30 (B Xerri 2 H Smith 2 J Millard tries B Trindall 5 goals) bt CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN 10 (J Pitovao K Kalache tries B Wakeham goal)