Highlights: Jets v Bulldogs (Rd 18)
The Canterbury Bulldogs survived a Newtown Jets comeback in the dying minutes to record a 30-26 victory.
The Bulldogs’ willingness to throw the ball around and their second-phase play allowed them to score five tries, with two of them coming from try-scoring machine Tyrone Phillips.
Junior Roqica made a powerful impact for the Jets and Todd Murphy was instrumental - however execution let the home side down.
It was a special occasion for Jets forward Kurt Kara, as this was his 100th appearance for the club.
The match began with no team taking charge, resulting in end-to-end football for almost 15 minutes.
Phillips evaded various defenders and showed his finishing finesse to finally open the scoring after the ball was shifted to his right wing.
With the score at 6-0, the Bulldogs looked dominant and began to play an extremely expansive style of football.
But, it was to no avail early on thanks to a runaway Rociqa.
The big Fijian charged onto an offload and never looked like being stopped on his way to the try-line to even up the scores.
The Jets forwards stepped up off the kickoff set, bending the defensive line back with almost every run.
Murphy then put in a grubber that was pounced on by Sami Sauiluma to score the Jets’ second try in three minutes, which gave them the lead for the first time.
This mini-rampage from the Jets would prove to be the only time they successfully executed in the opening half, with good field position going to waste on various occasions.
With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs took back the lead through Herman Ese’ese, who broke through the defence and seemingly planted the ball down with ease for a 12-10 halftime scoreline.
The second half began with Phillips being put on report for allegedly hitting the touch judge with the ball in frustration, although it seemed to be accidental.
Nathan Gardner was injured three minutes later and left the field for the remainder of the match.
Gardner’s injury proved to be a double blow, as Chase Stanley was on the receiving end of a great pass and ran straight over the Jets’ makeshift fullback to increase their lead to 18-10.
Andrew Pearn was held up in the 52nd minute, but the Jets scored a few tackles later when Todd Murphy grubbered for Gerard McCallum to decrease the deficit to two.
The Jets had multiple chances to take the lead in the following 15 minutes, but the Bulldogs outstanding defence combined with the home side’s lack of execution resulted in no points.
Phillips eventually extended the Bulldogs lead after some good work by Adam Elliot, before Levi Dodd ran away from the kickoff set to score under the posts to increase their lead to 30-16.
Seemingly it was game over with five minutes remaining, but the Jets never gave up.
McCallum scored his second try after Pat Politoni made a linebreak and put a grubber in for the try scorer, before Murphy scored with two minutes remaining to give the Jets one last chance.
The Jets failed to score off the kickoff set, which meant the Bulldogs took a valuable two competition points back to Belmore.
Both sides were on 20 competition points coming into the clash, but the Bulldogs have moved to fifth and the Jets now sit in eighth within a congested ladder.
The Jets will travel to GIO Stadium next week to take on Mounties, while the Bulldogs will host the Penrith Panthers at Belmore Oval.
Canterbury Bulldogs 30 (T Phillips 2, C Stanley, L Dodd, H Ese'ese tries; Stanley 5 goals) bt Newtown Jets 26 (G McCallum 2, J Roqica, T Murphy, S Sauiluma tries; T Murphy 2, N Gardner goals)