Mounties V Bulldogs - VB NSW Cup Rd 11
By Diego Arellano
Mounties held off a late-surging Canterbury-Bankstown to scrape home 38-36 in an exciting round 11 clash at Aubrey Keech Reserve.
The much-fancied Mounties were stunned early when the Bulldogs took the lead after winger Levi Dodd crossed over out wide in just the 2nd minute.
Sitting second on the competition table, Mounties quickly composed themselves and levelled the scores after seven minutes through a converted try to classy centre Matt Allwood.
From there the home side completely took control of the match and posted a further four first-half tries to take a commanding 26-4 advantage at the break.
Crafty hooker Reece Goldsmith joined Allwood in picking up doubles as Mosese Pangai also scored in what was a one-sided opening half.
The margin was further extended soon after half-time when Goldsmith collected his hat-trick and with Matt Place converting, Canterbury would have been forgiven for throwing in the towel.
But the cellar-dwellers were ready to show pride in the Blue and White jersey and in the process almost pulling off a remarkable victory.
The comeback was started when bulldozing second-rower David Minute barged over in the 13th minute. Patrick Templeman's conversion made it 32-10.
Dodd crossed over for his second of the afternoon three minutes later after a wonderful cut-out pass by half Lindon McGrady.
Then two minutes later, a complacent Mounties were now well and truly looking over their shoulder after McGrady sliced through the defence like a hot knife through butter from thirty metres out to plant the ball over the line. Templeman posted the extras and the deficit was now reduced to two converted tries at 32-20.
Led by Minute, McGrady and Templeman, the Bulldogs were full of running and had all the momentum as a shell-shocked Mounties tried to hold on to their lead.
The try-fest continued as Minute was next to cross over. He scored his second try in the 22nd minute and the Bulldogs were now trailing by just six points.
Mounties finally managed to stem the flow temporarily thanks to another try to Mosese Pangai twelve minutes from fulltime. Place's conversion giving his side a vital twelve-point buffer heading into the final ten minutes.
But Canterbury weren't going down without a fight in what was an amazing second-half performance.
With seven minutes left of the clock that man minute was at again, scoring his hat-trick to give the visitors some hope.
Incredibly, the Blue and Whites weren't done with just yet. In an absolute nail-biting finish, centre Drury Low dived over out wide with just five minutes left on the clock. The conversion would have levelled the scores but unfortunately Templeman's kick was sprayed wide as Mounties sighed a breath of relief and clinged onto a two-point win.
Next weekend Mounties will head to Allianz Stadium to tackle the Jets who will be seeking a third straight win while the Bulldogs will have the bye.
Mounties 38 (R Goldsmith 3, M Pangai 2, M Allwood 2 tries; M Place 5 goals) def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 36 (D Minute 3, L Dodd 2, D Low, L McGrady tries; P Templeman 4 goals) at Aubrey Keech Reserve.