ISP NSW Report: Canterbury v North Sydney
The Bears have eventually disposed of a gallant Bulldogs side thanks to dominant displays from Samisoni Langi and Man of the Match Cheyne Whitelaw to keep the Bulldogs winless in 2016.
In dreary conditions at ANZ Stadium, it was evident from kick-off that this would be a typical Homebush arm wrestle; both sides earned repeat sets in the opening stages with nicely-timed grubber kicks into the in-goal and were truly in wet-weather mode.
In the 14th minute the Bears defence eventually cracked thanks to a fantastic looping cutout ball from Matt Frawley to winger Jarrod McInally. The conversion attempt hit the upright for a 4-nil Bulldogs lead.
The Bears struck back in the 27th minute through three of their late inclusions: returning five-eighth Cody Walker sent it wide to his winger Tom Hughes, who came up with a brilliant offload for Bernard Gregorius. With the try converted, North Sydney took a two-point lead and would never look back.
The game hit a sour note when Bulldogs centre Reubenn Rennie was put on report for a dangerous shot on Eli Levido, who was forced from the field and unable to return.
As the sun began to poke through the clouds over Sydney Olympic Park, it was some Sitiveni Moceidreke brilliance that set up a second four-pointer for the visitors; the fullback put the ball to boot for a short stab kick before toeing it off the ground for a flying Samisoni Langi. Langi got his first try of 2016 before Moceidreke converted, sending North Sydney into the sheds with a 12-4 advantage.
Canterbury-Bankstown enjoyed significant field position early in the second stanza but were unable to make the most of it as Brad Abbey sent a cutout pass into touch. They defended their error and after a line break to Dane Chisholm eventually found themselves back in an attacking position. Once again the Bulldogs were offering very little in attack and were unable to come up with points on the Bears’ line.
Eventually the Bulldogs hit back through a Raymond Faitala-Mariner line break and while it was a questionable pass to set up Chisholm under the posts, it brought the home side within striking distance of North Sydney.
The momentum, however, was short-lived; second-rower Jack Gosiewski muscled his way over for the Bears just three minutes later and with the conversion missed they led 16 points to 10.
The miserable weather was starting to get to the players and when Cody Walker slotted a field goal in the 72nd minute for a seven-point lead, they made their intentions to wrap up the game clear.
The Bulldogs weren’t going to die wondering and Tyrone Phillips soon chased down a long-range kick to come close to scoring, with Hughes sin-binned for holding the Bulldogs centre down.
Abbey and Rennie made the most of their one-man advantage with a fantastic try to Rennie, converted to get Canterbury-Bankstown within a single point with just a minute remaining.
The North Sydney defence proved impenetrable, however, eventually handing the Bulldogs another heartbreaking defeat. At full-time the score was 17-16.