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Bulldogs rally in gutsy SG Ball Cup finals win

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs winger Jordi Mazzone scored a stunning try to steer his team into a SG Ball Cup Semi-final after a hard-fought 16-14 win over Balmain Tigers at St Marys Leagues Stadium.

The Bulldogs showed plenty of fight to rally from a 10-0 deficit midway through the first half and then even more resolve to defend their line as a gallant Tigers outfit fought right to the very end.

The game was ultimately decided midway through the second half when Bulldogs halfback and captain Joseph O’Neill put a cross-field kick across which sat up nicely for Mazzone to pluck out of the air and sprint away from the defence to score.

The Bulldogs had scraped into the finals series in sixth position and got off to a slow start after Tigers No.7 Jonathan Ibrahim put back-rower Leo Nasio over the line with a nice short ball to take a 4-0 lead.

SG Ball Cup Highlights: Finals Week 1 v Tigers

The Tigers backed that effort up a short time later when five-eighth Emmanuel Di Bartolo fired a well-timed, cut-out pass for winger Joseph Delle to score in the corner. Prop Tony Sukkar landed the sideline conversion and the Tigers were in control at 10-0.

The Bulldogs needed a spark and fullback Joash Papali'i – who had already made one daring and impressive run up the sideline - answered the call when he switched to dummy-half with Braye Porter coming off the bench to take over the duties at the back.

Porter did well to strip the Tigers of possession one-on-one as they were carting the ball off their own line just before half-time and Papali'i gave his side some hope after burrowing his way over from dummy-half to close the margin to 10-4.

It was Papali'i again who stepped up when play resumed after launching another dash out of dummy-half to grab his second try of the match. Jonathan Sua made no mistake with the conversion and the scores were locked up at 10-all.

Mazzone then had the Bulldogs fans at the ground cheering loudly after his long-range effort with Sua adding the extras for a 16-10 lead.

The Tigers scored an impressive try of their own after Di Bartolo released Delle down the sideline and the winger shrugged off Porter in defence before outsprinting Mazzone to score. Sukkar was unable to land the tough conversion from the sideline to leave the score at 16-14.

That set up a frantic final 10 minutes with both sides having their opportunities to score, but it was the Bulldogs who held on to advance to the Semi-finals next week.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16 (Tries: Joash Papali'i 2, Jordi Mazzone; Goals: Jonathan Sua 2) def. Balmain Tigers 14 (Tries: Joseph Delle 2, Leo Nasio; Goals: Tony Sukkar)


Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.