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Broughton stars for Bulldogs as they snap the Bears winning run

A double to Canterbury-Bankstown’s Gayle Broughton earned her Player of the Match honours and helped the Bulldogs snap the unbeaten streak of the North Sydney Bears in a 28-18 victory at NSWRL’s Centre of Excellence on Monday night.

Scoring a fine individual try in the first half and then creating her own luck by retrieving her own chip kick in the second, wasn’t the only contribution by Broughton in the final Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership match of round five.

The Parramatta NRLW star troubled the Bears defence all night and combined well with her halves partner No.7 Tayla Preston, who also landed six from six goals.

“Gayle is outstanding and she’s a quality person as well, which is why she’s our captain,” said Bulldogs coach Craig Sandercock.

“She leads the team around so well. She’s a delight to coach.”

The Bulldogs needed Broughton’s expertise after they appeared to be sitting pretty at 26-6 with 20 minutes left to play. But then the Bears piled on two unanswered tries to reduce the deficit to 26-18.

A Preston penalty in the final two minutes of play sealed the result.

“I’ve been coaching a long, long time now but I was actually a bit nervous towards the end there,” Sandercock said.

“To the girls credit they just hung on and hung on. I thought we did deserve to win though. It was a good tight game of footy.”

The Bears remain on top of the table with a better for-and-against record, but two other clubs have now joined them on eight competition points – the Bulldogs in second spot and the Illawarra Steelers in third position following their 40-6 win over the St George Dragons on Saturday.

It was a tough night for NSW Sky Blue Sarah Togatuki. She scored two tries for the Bears but ended up being carried from the field with severe leg cramp.

“You can’t stay at the top forever so I suppose we’ve got to lose one to get our winning feeling back again,” Togatuki said.

“I’m still proud of the girls the way came back in that second half and we refused to back down.”

The Bulldogs lost two key starting forwards in hooker Rueben Cherrington and Jillaroos prop Holli Wheeler in the first half, but still managed an 18-6 lead at the break.

Cherrington opened the scoring for the Bulldogs in the sixth minute after diving over from dummy-half before she received treatment twice for a bloody nose. Wheeler was assisted from the field by trainers after a head knock but both players returned midway through the second half.

After Broughton’s left-foot step deceived the Bears defence for her first try, Bulldogs prop Angelina Teakaraanga Katoa scored the Bulldogs third try seconds before the half-time hooter.

The Bears made things interesting midway through the half drawing scores level at 6-all when Togatuki dragged three defenders off an inside pass from rake Taneka Todhunter.

Togatuki scored her second in the 51st minute before Sky Blues five-eighth Kirra Dibb dummied to her outside backs for a touchdown in the 55th minute. But the surge just came a little late.

Both clubs have a short five-day turn around before their Round Six games on Saturday 11 March – the Bulldogs facing the Steelers and the Bears up against Mounties.

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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