|Match Date||28th May, 2000|
|Venue||Homebush (Stadium Australia)|
DARYL HALLIGAN’S fingerprints were all over the game at Stadium Australia yesterday — a total of 14 points for the Bulldogs and one fumble which gave the opposition four, leaving him 10 ahead on the ledger as the full-time siren sounded.
Even though it was the Dogs' first game after the Ricky Stuart era, the story of the Belmore-based club has moved on to Halligan.
With 14 points yesterday, he is just 13 shy of breaking the all-time points-scoring record held by Parramatta's most famous of centres, Mick Cronin. The record will fall in a week or two, with one of the most unlikely players in the game getting his hands on it.
If anything, it is a greater testament to his achievements because he has worked so hard to improve on areas which have always drawn much criticism for him. He is said to be too slow, lack agility in defence and attack, and have a mistake in him every game.
But the way Halligan plays the game in his head has always countered those areas.
His positional play is what keeps him in there and, then, when it is time to stick the ball on the kicking tee, everyone sits back and watches in awe.
That is why yesterday was a typical Halligan day. The Bulldogs were in good early form against a Roosters side which barely got out of first gear in the opening 40 minutes, and trailed 16-4 at the break.
By then, the winger they call "Chook" already had 12 points to his name. There was the goalkicking that was no problem. Then there was his ability to be in the right spot at the right time.
A Bulldogs bomb came down from the heavens and bounced off Bradley Clyde's head and over the try-line. Halligan was there just before the ball rolled over the deadball line and he was another six points closer to the record.
"I'm trying not to think about it," Halligan said.
"The more you do, the more it seems further away. I don't want to put any pressure on myself in that regard and I don't want to put any extra pressure on the team. I'll just let nature take its course. In the meantime, I'll just try and keep my side of the field tidy."
If anything, he was more concerned about letting the four points in after he fumbled a grubber from Adrian Lam. It was a mistake easily forgiven considering the amount of points he contributes each week, but that was no consolation for Halligan.
"I had it covered and I didn't do the right thing," he said. "I should have grounded it and I would have come up with a clean slate. I'll just have to work on it a bit harder next week."
It was one of those days. Nothing was quite perfect for either side, more so for the Roosters.
"I don't think that'll be in anyone's scrapbook," Roosters coach Graham Murray said. "It wasn't a very good performance, it was poor. We created enough opportunities, we just didn't finish them."
Murray's assessment was spot on. After an awful first half, the Roosters came alive for patches in the second period and dragged the score back to 16-12 after Darren Burns had dived on Halligan's fumble and a further penalty had been added.
Shannon Hegarty later benefited from a ricochet after a grubber kick, which saw him cross wide of the posts to reduce the deficit to 22-16.
With just a converted try in it, the Roosters had opportunities right to the end.
Brad Fittler put Luke Phillips through a gap in the dying seconds, but the next pass failed to find the support players out wide.Source: The Australian
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||0||0||0||0|
|Brent Sherwin||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Craig Polla-Mounter||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Price||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Bradley Clyde||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Dennis Scott||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|