|Match Date||20th May, 2000|
|Venue||New Zealand (Ericsson Stadium)|
EMOTIONAL Bulldogs officials last night closed ranks around halfback Ricky Stuart after his career was threatened by a suspected cruciate ligament knee injury during the loss to Auckland.
Second-rower Steve Reardon also suffered a probable broken ankle as the visitors crashed out of the top eight with a 24-12 loss after trailing 16-6 at half-time at Ericsson Stadium.
It was easily the Belmore club's worst day of the season.
Many expected Stuart, 33, to retire at the end of the year but coach Steve Folkes would not expand on his condition, and media representatives were barred from entering the Dogs' rooms after the match.
He's been better," Folkes said. "I don't want to speculate on the extent. Both injuries were serious. We'll wait and see what happens during the week"
Team doctor Hugh Hazard would only say that Stuart would undergo an MRI scan on Monday.
The possible tragedy over-shadowed Auckland's impressive performance as they repelled repeated attacks to move within shooting distance of the top eight.
Prop Mark Tookey, attending the game as a spectator, found himself thrust into the Warriors' squad when prop Terry Hermansson pulled out 20 minutes before kick-off with a strained hamstring.
He had played the night before for Newtown in the NSW first division.
"Mark Tookey was up doing his bit with the corporate boxes and we had to send out an SOS and grab him and find him some boots and some gear," coach Mark Graham said.
And Auckland fullback Scott Pethybridge played on with a dislocated shoulder.
Outstanding for the Warriors was Tookey's Newtown teammate Jason Bell, who set up both of 19-year-old winger Shontayne Hape's tries.
It took only two minutes for Warriors winger Nigel Vagana to score the first touchdown of the match off a Logan Swann break, bringing the crowd of 11,918 to its feet.
Hape's initial try came in the 16th minute but Reardon hit back in the 26th, shortly after Stuart crumpled over while trying to tackle Warriors centre David Myles and was helped off by trainers.
Hape's second try came eight minutes before half-time.
Reardon was carted off on a medicab after going down in a two-man tackle two minutes before half-time, reducing the Dogs to just two interchange players.
Folkes said he told his shorthanded players at half-time: "Let's see how tough we are, let's see how much ticker we've got.
Bulldogs fullback Rod Silva was denied a touchdown from a Travis Norton kick by video referee David Goener in the 50th minute.
Silva was ruled offside in a borderline call.
Bulldogs interchange forward Jamie Feeney charged down a Stacey Jones kick 12 minutes later and regathered to race 45m and score, narrowing the margin to 16-12.
But from then on it was all Warriors, with winger Lee Oudenryn scoring from a bomb and their other winger, Odell Manuel, crossing off a John Simon kick soon after.Source: The Sun Herald
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||0||0||0||0|
|Brent Sherwin||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Ricky Stuart||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Reardon||Second Row||1||0||0||4|
|Bradley Clyde||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Barry Ward||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|