|Match Date||12th Jun, 2000|
|Venue||Homebush (Stadium Australia)|
DAVID PEACHEY was the first to admit yesterday there was no place like home.
Peachey enjoyed the experience of representing NSW in State of Origin One but the Sharks fullback also said the two weeks away from home seemed like an eternity.
Lucky for the Sharks, then, that a hamstring injury cost Peachey any chance of playing in game two or three.
He made his return against North Queensland in round 18 but it took until yesterday for him to reconfirm his superstar status with three tries against the Bulldogs.
“It’s good to be back playing with the Sharks and it's really good to get a treble.” Peachey said. Although I had an awesome time in there, training and playing State of Origin football and being with the players I was with you sort of felt a little bit lost when you came back to club football.
That "lost" feeling was evident in the first half as the Bulldogs seized an early lead, aided and abetted by a couple of bizarre, calls from referee Paul Simpkins. while the Sharks struggled for cohesion.
One of the Bulldogs tries resulted after Steve Price charged down a Peachey kick, and the Sharks' major attacking weapons, Peachey and winger Mat Rogers, butchered opportunities to score.
The Sharks headed into the break trailing 14-0, but coach John Lang was confident his players could turn things around if they just managed to relax.
Relax they did, and the Sharks piled on 26 unanswered points to run away with the match and claim seventh place on the ladder.
The win was founded in the legs of forwards Andrew Pierce and Nathan Long, who led the charge up front, and finished off by the Sharks' faster back-line.
That speed exploded in the 71st minute when the Sharks scored the best try of the day to grab a comfortable 22-14 lead.
Sharks winger Colin Best started the movement when he fielded a kick near his own in-goal line and run diagonally across field, past the out stretched hands of several Bulldog's defenders.
Best made 30 metres before he was tackled and the Sharks, spread the ball on the next play to the other side of the field for Russell Richardson to dart down the touchline before sending Peachey over for his second try.
Lang said the result was just reward for his players. who looked like "nervous Nellies" in the first half, but did not deserve to be trailing 14-0.
“That was a big game,” Lang said. I try not to think of those things before the game, but that puts us three (points) clear from the Bulldogs.
We’ve been pretty scratchy all year but I thought that second half was a great performance against a tough side.
It wasn't just the win, it was the way we played that I was really pleased about.
The Bulldogs were reduced to a two-man bench when they lost forward Bradley Clyde to a hamstring injury in the second minute of the game and half-back Craig Polla-Mounter with a suspected broken leg in the opening minute of the second half.
Polla-Mounter will undergo X-rays today to determine whether his leg is broken, leaving the Bulldogs in a weakened position as they have to win five of their next seven games to make the finals.
"We came into the last eight games thinking we needed to win maybe five (to make the finals).- Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes said. -That's probably still the case but we are down to seven games now and while it's tough we certainly won't be throwing the towel in, that for sure."
The only positive for the Bulldogs was the fact winger Daryl Halligan edged closer to points-scoring record set by Mick Cronin (1971 points).
Halligan kicked three goals yesterday to take him within four points of the record.
He will almost certainly break the record against Canberra at Stadium Australia on Saturday.Source: The Australian
|Hazem El Masri||Centre||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||1||0||0||4|
|Bradley Clyde||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Dennis Scott||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|