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A slashing seven-try second half carried the Bulldogs to a 44-12 win over an injury-hit St George Illawarra at Accor Stadium on Thursday. 

In a horror night which saw them lose forward Hame Sele (shoulder) and Jack Bird (ankle) early in the match, the Dragon gave up a 12-6 lead after conceding 38 unanswered points in the second half.

A tough carry from Jack de Belin gave the Dragons ideal field position and Moses Suli opened the scoreboard in the 13th minute after powering onto a sweet pass from skipper Ben Hunt.

Mosese Suli Try

The Bulldogs hit back just six minutes later with late call-up Toby Sexton stamping his class, fashioning a clever kick into the Dragons vacant in-goal for Matt Burton to put down just before the line.

St George five-eighth Kyle Flanagan came to the fore in the 32nd minute, with a quick play the ball after coming up short of the line and Jacob Liddle burrowed over from dummy half for a 12-6 lead.

A blow for the Dragons came just before halftime when Bird was taken from the field in a medicab after coming from the sideline in extreme discomfort, clutching at his ankle. 

With the Dragons returning to the second half down to just two men on the bench, the Bulldogs were quick to expose tiring defenders with Jaeman Salmon, throwing a dummy and exploding through the gap to score. Burton kicked to lock the score 12-12.

Jaeman Salmon 1st Try

The Bulldogs backrower made it a double just six minutes later, finishing off some slick passing from Jacob Kiraz and Reed Mahoney to steal the lead from St George. 

Come the 57th minute and winger Kiraz got one of his own after Stephen Crichton found some space down the right edge and the Dogs skipped out to a 24-12 lead. 

Jacob Kiraz 1st Try

Next to join the party was young gun Jacob Preston after Mahoney scooted out from dummy half to send the barnstorming backrower over from close range. 

The Dragons night went from bad to worse when they lost star winger Zac Lomax to the sin bin for a professional foul and the Bulldogs upped the tempo again, with Origin hopefuls Matt Burton and Stephen Crichton both bagging tries for a 40-12 lead.

With a minute left on the clock, the Bulldogs once more stamped their authority over the Dragons' left edge defence and star winger Kiraz made it a double to ice the 44-12 victory.

Match Snapshot

  • The Dragons lost prop Moses Suli after 14 minutes with a shoulder injury.
  • St George Illawarra centre Jack Bird went down with an ankle injury in the 39th minute.
  • Dragons lock Jack de Belin made his presence known in the first half with five tackle breaks, 113 metres off ten hit ups and 23 tackles.
  • Dragons winger Zac Lomax was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul in the 63rd minute.

Jack Bird off injured

  • Bulldogs winger Jacob Kiraz ran for 227 metres and had three line breaks to go with his double.
  • Dragons hooker Jacob Liddle came up with 49 tackles, four tackle breaks and a try.
  • The Bulldogs completed 40 of 44 at 90 per cent compared to the Dragons 24 of 30 at 80 per cent.
  • The Bulldogs made it five straight wins at Accor Stadium for the first time since 2016.

Play of the Game 

Jaeman Salmon starred at second row in his return from illness. The former Panther ignited the Bulldogs' second-half blitz, running in back-to-back tries after the break. The second one came as arguably the most impressive of the night for the Bulldogs with the edge forward sweeping the ball left before Kiraz and Mahoney combined and Salmon finished off what he started.

Jaeman Salmon 2nd Try

What They Said 

"I think we've been building to that. We had a couple of tough losses but in those losses, we've done a lot of things right so we've been recognising that and understanding that we've got to keep putting ourselves in the picture and take those opportunities and I thought the second half, it clicked for us and we did that. We had a pretty simple game plan coming in but I thought we played with a lot of freedom in the second half there." - Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo

Bulldogs: Round 12

"The two halves were just so different. I thought we were really good in the first half, we ran hard, had three missed tackles and competed really hard. I thought if we continued to do that we'd win the football game. But credit to them, they did exactly what we did to them in the first half, ran hard and got some offloads. Possession killed us and when we finally got possession we'd turn it over and give a penalty away, so we were our own worst enemy. When you lose a centre it is hard and that's probably where their strike is out on their edges." - Dragons coach Shane Flanagan

Dragons: Round 12

What's Next

The Bulldogs head to Newcastle to meet the Knights on Friday night while the Dragons are off to Penrith to face the Premiers on Saturday.

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.