|Match Date||7th Feb, 2000|
|Venue||Canberra (Bruce Stadium)|
Canberra discovered new “bottle”, the Bulldogs were knee-capped in more ways than one, and there were warnings that Refs Call" would get as much airing as What A Game this season. All that and more at Bruce Stadium last night.
Wearing their distinctive new bottle-green strip, pumped-up Canberra played as if they'd been waiting for this season to start since halfway through 1999 as they, pummelled the fancied Bulldogs 14-2 before a healthy 14,264 crowd.
The visitors disappointment at being shut out by the Raiders' new found defensive muscle was compounded afterwards with the news that centre Steven Hughes would miss up to 16 weeks after dislocating a kneecap in the 55th minute.
"He could be out for six weeks, and he could be out for 16," said Bulldogs doctor Hugh Hazard, who also put prop Troy Stone in a neck brace after he landed badly. "If he [Hughes] has knocked some cartilage off the back of his kneecap, he's going to take a while to come back."
Bulldogs hooker Adam Perry was reported after a touch judge told referee Matt Hewitt he had "clocked" a couple of opponents.
Already without Darren Britt and Jason Hetherington, it was not the season debut the Bulldogs had in mind when they made their way down the Hume Highway.
Much less was expected of Canberra and, paradoxically, coach Mal Meninga reckoned that was exactly why they exceeded those expectations.
"One of the reasons is you guys giving them a bagging - that certainly helps," Meninga told the post-match media conference.
Skipper Laurie Daley explained: "The best thing about, this year is no-one's given us any respect, and rightly so. We didn't perform last year and we were disappointed. We've got to go out there and earn respect and that was a good way to start.
"Last year ... were the second-best attacking side but we were about 10th or 11th in defence. If we get right, hopefully we'll earning a bit of respect.
Impressive hooker Simon Woolford scored when prop Anthony Brann stood in a tackle after 23 minutes a led 8-2 at the break.
It only took one more try, to second-rower David Furner six minutes into the second half off a Woolford pass, to give the Raiders their first competition points of the season.
Canberra dominated the ruck, but it was a try not scored, or at least not allowed, which provided the biggest talking point. And a spectacular movement it was, Woolford passing to new second-rower Anthony Colella, who in turn got a nice on-hander to would-be scorer Brad Kelly.
Under new rules or the 2000 season, video referees can rule on forward passes. Both last night's coaches said they supported the rule, but there may certainly be times when the angle of a video replay would make it near-on impossible to make a judgment.
Video referee Chris Ward admitted that unless the ball had clearly been propelled forward, as he ruled was the case with Colella's pass, there might be plenty of instances of a fourth official passing the buck back to the referee. If you can't get the right camera angle, I think it's going to go back to the referee in more cases than enough," Ward said.
Asked if he thought forward passes would be sent back to the referee more often than with other rulings, Ward said: "Very much so. There's no doubts about that. You're not going to speculate on something you believe to be a forward pass."
Ward did flash a "refs call" last night - the video replay inconclusive on Bulldogs replacement Barry Ward's attempt to ground the ball for a 66th minute try.
coach Steve Folkes said: "Barry reckon he got the ball down." But he
conceded Canberra played well. "[They] took better advantage of the
referee's reluctance to penalise holding down."
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||0||0||0||0|
|Corey Hughes||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Ricky Stuart||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Bradley Clyde||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Smith||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Troy Stone||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Price||Front Row||0||0||0||0|