By Stewart Moses
Canterbury have finally won their first game under new coach Andy Patmore and their first game overall since round two in defeating the North Sydney Bears 27-20 in gloomy conditions at Sportingbet Stadium.
Canterbury came out of the blocks quickly scoring in just the third minute when a shift left resulted in centre Levi Dodd breaking through the line to score from close range.
The Bulldogs doubled their lead soon after in the 10th minute after the right winger Dujuan Liolevave finished off a good backline movement to score in the right corner.
The Bears got themselves back into the game scoring midway through the first half after the Bears spread play out to the right from 30 metres before a flick pass from centre Joe Uluibau put winger Tui Paiaaua on a determined run to score in the right corner.
Aldridge’s conversion from the sideline reduced the lead to 8-6.
The Bears hit the lead soon after a Blake South grubber was regathered short of the try line by Tulsa Saumamao who was able to plunge across for the four-pointer.
Aldridge’s conversion putting the Bears in front 12-8, a lead that was short-lived when Pat Templeman scored in the left corner after an errant offload was kicked ahead twice by back rower David Minute.
Templeman was unable to convert leaving the game even poised at 12-12 at halftime.
As was the case in the first half, the Bulldogs scored early in the second half albeit against the run of play after Jaline Graham trapped a Bears grubber kick before regathering and going 90 metres to score out wide right and with Templeman’s conversion the Bulldogs led once more 18-12.
The Bulldogs scored back to back tries minutes later when a quick shift left close to the Bears tryline was finished off in style by winger Kayne Brennan to give Canterbury a 22-12 lead.
The Bears proceeded to score back to back tries through a double to Uluibau who, on both occasions outmuscled his opposite number Eddie Murphy to score out wide from close range, to leave the game evenly poised once more at 22-20 with 20 minutes remaining in the match.
The Bears were made to pay for some missed opportunities when a great Alaalatoa offload allowed Damien Cook to put Chris Binge on a great run to score out wide with Templeman again missing the conversion.
North Sydney again applied late pressure in pursuit of the levelling try but a Templeman field goal from 10 metres out with minutes remaining ensured that the Bulldogs would take the two competition points.
The Bears will head to Henson Park on Saturday in what looms as a must win clash for both sides while the Dogs will attempt to make it two straight when they head to WIN Stadium to tackle the high flying Cutters.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 27 (C Binge, J Graham, K Brennan, L Dodd, P Templeman, D Liolevave tries; P Templeman goal; P Templeman field goal) def. North Sydney Bears 20 (J Uluibau 2, T Saumamao, T Paiaaua tries; K Aldridge 2 goals) at Sportingbet Stadium.