By Nathan Beuman at Henson Park
The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs have snapped a two game losing streak with a convincing 37-24 victory over the Cronulla Sharks at Henson Park.
Despite a seesawing battle which saw both sides trade tries in the opening half an hour, Canterbury asserted themselves in the back end of the game, outscoring their opponents seven tries to four to increase the gap between them and the wooden spoon.
Canterbury made the most of a Tim Robinson error in the opening set of the game, when Pat Templeman threw a ball out to Tyrone Phillips on the right wing to open the scoring.
Templeman was unable to convert the try from out wide, leaving the score at 4-0 after just three minutes.
The Sharks hit back just minutes later, when Nathan Gardner managed to get a ball away to Blake Ayshford, who put Nathan Stapleton into a gap, before Stapleton converted his own try to give Cronulla a 6-4 lead after six minutes.
A barnstorming run by Lloyd Perrett set up the Bulldogs next try, when the front rower offloaded the ball to trailing Jaline Graham, who had no trouble getting the ball over the line, extending Canterbury’s lead out to 10-6 after 11 minutes with the Templeman conversion.
When Gardner jumped out of dummy half in the 17th minute, the scores were level, before Stapleton knocked over the extra two points from just to the right of the uprights to give Cronulla a 12-10 lead.
Simple errors by the Sharks in the back end of the half saw Canterbury take over, with tries to Levi Dodd, Pat O’Hanlon and Tyrone Phillips before the break, sending the Bulldogs into the sheds with a 24-12 lead.
Canterbury continued their dominance off the back of a 40/20 by Templeman just after the break, before David Minute burst his way through the Cronulla line to score, extending the Bulldogs lead out to 30-12 following the conversion.
When Templeman put a chip kick in for his fullback in the 49th minute, it looked as though Canterbury were going to continue the onslaught, but a brilliant pickup on the run by Nathan Gardner saw the Cronulla fullback run 80 metres against the run of play to score and bring the Sharks to within two converted tries.
A Tim Robinson half break had Cronulla on the board again, when the front rower got a pass away in field to Pat Politoni who scored under the posts, before Stapleton’s conversion made it 30-24, setting up an exciting final 20 minutes.
The excitement wouldn’t last long through for the Sharks supporters, when Templeman slotted a field goal from 15 metres out directly in front to extend their lead out to seven points.
Canterbury’s Damien Cook soon put the Sharks out of their misery, when the speedy hooker took a ball from Chris Binge, before breaking out of a one on one tackle to score under the posts.
The win sees the Bulldogs move three points clear of the North Sydney Bear in last position while the Sharks sit in seventh, just one point ahead of the ninth placed Jets.
And the Sharks will be at Henson Park again this weekend to face the afore mentioned Jets while the Bulldogs will be back at Belmore to take on Mounties.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 37 (T Phillips 2, L Dodd, J Graham, D Cook, P O'Hanlon, D Minute tries; P Templeman 4 goals; P Templeman field goal) def. Cronulla Sharks 24 (N Gardner 2, P Politoni, N Stapleton tries; N Stapleton 4 goals) at Henson Park.