Fine Form Sees Bulldogs Edge Out Roos

It was the Bulldogs who found themselves on the attack early and they looked to get on the scoreboard first when a Matt Frawley cut-out ball was sent wide towards Jarrod McInally. Chris Centrone took an intercept, however, making an easy 40 metres and handing the Roos a chance to post the first points. They made the most of their opportunity through usual centre Luke Garner, who was playing in the second row. Tyler Cornish added the extras for an early 6-0 lead.

The Roos were able to build pressure from there, with repeat sets adding to the time spend in an attacking position. Ten minutes later it was five-eighth Kauri Apouri who found the line in the exact same place as before, with Cornish converting once again.

In the 23rd minute, the Bulldogs eventually managed to post points of their own – albeit off a Brad Abbey mistake. The young fullback misread a Wyong bomb, which bounced in front of him in a dangerous position, but landed into the hands of Reimis Smith who broke the line and ran 80 metres to score. With Chisholm missing the kick the score was 12-4 in the Roos’ favour.

Just four minutes later it was club debutant Asipeli Fine’s turn to score, who showed the strength and leg-speed that had caught the eye of the Bulldogs coaching staff. Chisholm once again failed to add the extras.

Some soft defence soon followed and the Roos scored in the same place as the previous two; this time Paki Afu muscled his way over which was again converted to get back out to a 10-point advantage.

As half-time approached, the left-side shift play finally paid dividends with McInally crossing untouched in the corner. Chisholm’s attempted conversion was waved away and his side trailed 18-12 with two minutes before the break.

The Bulldogs weren’t done with yet, however, and moments later McInally and Chase Stanley combined for a try that had the Belmore crowd on their feet in the north-west corner. Stanley planted the ball down and from the same spot where he’d missed a minute previously, Chisholm slotted the conversion. Despite Canterbury-Bankstown scoring four tries to three, scores were all locked up at 18 apiece at the break.

The home side started the second stanza in similar fashion that they ended the first, with Frawley dodging and weaving his way through the defence to score. Brad Abbey resumed goal kicking duties and was successful with his attempt.

With 26 minutes remaining, the Roos had managed to stem the flow of points and mount a case for their own, eventually finding the line through Joey Lussick at the same point of the Bulldogs defence that had been broken three times already. Cornish was successful again to draw level at 24-all.

The back-and-forth game continued but it was mostly the Roos who were enjoying good field position, however with 10 minutes remaining the Bulldogs scored against the run of play. An in-goal Omar Slaimankhel fumble allowed Fine to capitalise, scoring his second in his first appearance for Canterbury-Bankstown. The try was converted by Abbey and the Bulldogs led 30-24.

In the 75th minute, the Roos crossed through Centrone and while there was a lengthy debate about whether he’d stepped into touch, the try was eventually awarded. The Cornish kick was waved away, however, and the Bulldogs remained two points ahead.

The Roos threw everything they could at the Bulldogs in the dying stages, but were ultimately unable to score again and the home side won 30 points to 28.