Experienced Magpies Down Bulldogs

The Western Suburbs Magpies with David Nofoaluma and Chris McQueen in their side have proven too strong for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, defeating them 32-10 at ANZ Stadium.

Josh Drinkwater returned for the club after two seasons in the English Super League, and along with halves partner Tyson Gamble, put in an incredibly dominant performance. 

Fa’amanu Brown opened proceedings for the Bulldogs after a strong run from Renouf To’omaga took three defenders to take him down, and the live wire recruit picked the ball up from dummy half and crashed through the markers to score. 

Drinkwater only re-joined the club a few weeks ago, and he immediately made an impact when he turned a ball into a charging Luke Gardner who lost his footing on the way to the line, but never gave up and reached out to score.

Gamble wasted no time to get in on the action when the Magpies were on the attack just minutes later when he sharply stepped off his right foot and pierced through the Bulldogs defence to snatch a 12-6 lead. 

With less than a minute on the clock until half-time, Josh Cleeland put a skilful grubber in at speed and Jarred Anderson showed plenty of speed to win the race from an unlikely position. It was a much needed four-pointer for the Bulldogs to reduce the deficit to two as the Magpies had won the battle of field position for a majority of the half. 

It would be the Magpies to open proceedings in the second half thanks to a beautiful offload by Ratuvakacerivalu that created space up the middle, before Watson Heleta charged onto a ball and could not be stopped. 

Some brilliant work by Gamble led to the next try when he sold a massive dummy to his right and put a pin-point kick in for David Nofoaluma to reach for the stars and expertly snatch the ball mid-air and plant the ball down, which gave the Magpies a 22-10 lead.

An alarming moment for the Bulldogs came at the one hour mark when Cleeland went down, and had to be assisted off the field as he was unable to put weight on his leg.

Nofoaluma sealed the game for the Magpies in a similar try to the one before as Gamble put in a cross-field kick for his winger once again, however this try was not as spectacular as he only had to pick the ball up and plant it down. Another NRL Wests Tigers regular, Sauaso Sue, would follow up minutes later, crashing over next to the posts to set Drinkwater up with an easy conversion attempt. Successfully adding the extras, the score was 32-10, which would remain until the game's conclusion.

Western Suburbs Magpies 32 (D Nofoaluma 2, S Sue, T Gamble, W Heleta, L Garner tries; J Drinkwater 4 goals) def Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 10 (N Brown, J Anderson tries; R Martin goal)