Mounties Overcome Bulldogs Scare
There were no signs of the torrential rain that prevented the game being played in Round 13, but it was Mounties who washed away the Bulldogs this afternoon with a 27 points to 18 victory.
The Bulldogs welcomed debutant winger Marcelo Montoya into the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ranks, who had a mixed afternoon; he scored a try in his maiden appearance, but four more were scored by Mounties in his corner. For the visitors it was Lachlan Croker to return in Mounties colours, partnering the in-form Sam Williams in the halves.
Kato Ottio found the line for Mounties early, diving over in the North Eastern corner to give his side the lead. With the Sam Williams conversion bouncing off the upright it was 4-0 after six minutes.
Ten minutes later it was Williams to continue his impressive run of form, charging down a chip kick and running 70 metres to score untouched. Converting from the same blade of grass as before, he made no mistake this time for a 10-0 lead.
Soon after it looked like Alofi Mataele had scored off a neat piece of play from Brenko Lee, but a knock-on was ruled. Mounties regained possession moments later and Ottio, on the other win, produced a simple offload to set up interchange player Mitch Kennedy. Once again the Williams kick found the upright and bounced out.
Through Harry Siejka the Bulldogs were looking somewhat dangerous in broken play, but Mounties asserted their dominance shortly; Scott Sorensen broke the line down the left hand side and with Mataele on his outside, decided to go himself and got away from Lamar Liolevave. Another conversion was missed by Williams, giving Mounties an 18-0 lead after their fourth try.
The Bulldogs looked slick with a movement that saw them progress 80 metres downfield, thanks to Marcelo Montoya - but the Siejka chip kick that followed was easily swalloed up by Mataele in goal. They threw everything at the competition leaders, however, eventually reaping the rewards through Montoya who crossed on debut. With Brad Abbey slotting the conversion in the shadows of half-time, the match headed to the break a lot closer than it should have been: 18-6 in favour of Mounties.
The second stanza started in a near identical way to the first, with Ottio finishing a good set play to score his second. Williams converted to re-establish the 18-point difference.
Abbey would hit back when the Bulldogs mounted some pressure soon after and the exciting fullback did well to push back the defence and plant the ball down. He converted his own try to make the scoreline 24-12, but turned from hero to villain two minutes later when he batted the ball into touch in trying to set up Reimis Smith.
The Bulldogs were well and truly on the back foot when Ottio made good ground off a 20 metre restart, but kept giving away their chances; three times in quick succession they gave up possession in dangerous territory and failed to shut out the game.
Eventually the blue-and-whites made the most of Mounties' errors through a well-placed Harry Siejka kick. A flying Smith batted the ball infield and it was Siejka himself to clean up the scraps. With Siejka then kicking the conversion, the deficit was reduced to just six.
All of a sudden the home side was looking solid in defence, managing to hold off yet another Mounties set on their line before the visitors came up with another error. When they got their own chance they looked just as likely to score, but Mounties also stuck solid in defence. The Bulldogs then had to endure repeat sets and continued to hold their own, but Williams opted for the field goal and made no mistake. With seven minutes remaining, Mounties led 25 points to 18.
Reubenn Rennie did brilliantly to regather the short kick-off and the Bulldogs had another opportunity to post points. With Ottio taking an intercept and taking his side 60 metres downfield, however, that chance went begging.
Time was running out and when Mounties got the chance to take a penalty goal in the dying stages, they made no mistake. Williams added the two points for the full-time scoreline of 27-18.