|Match Date||23rd Jul, 2000|
|Opponent||St George Illawarra|
|Venue||Homebush (Stadium Australia)|
THE often used phrase in the sheds of a defeated football team is that the final scoreline didn't reflect the game.
In the Bulldogs rooms yesterday, there was no chance the line would be trotted out.
They knew the defeat was a fitting result to the game, one dominated from the outset by St George Illawarra but kept tight through desperate defence and countless bombed tries from the Dragons.
St George Illawarra had a huge amount of possession in the first half, at one stage forcing the Bulldogs into five successive drop-outs.
Yet stubborn cover defence from fullback Hazem El Masri and his team-mates found the Bulldogs trailing only 14-10 with 20 minutes remaining. There was still hope they might conjure an escape befitting the final home games of Jason Hetherington, Brad Clyde and Daryl Halligan.
But three tries by the Dragons in the final 10 minutes put paid to those plans as tired legs kicked in.
Winger Nathan Blacklock scored a brace of tries, recapturing the season's top tryscorers mantle ahead of Wendell Sailor with 23 tries and a game to play.
As far as the table stands, the Dragons' faint hopes of making the eight ended with the Sharks' win over Parrarnatta.
Their only chance of slipping into the eight is for the Sharks to lose next week and for the Dragons to register a 200-point win over the Eels — a task coach Andrew Farrar found a little unlikely.
"Well, the amount of tries we bombed today can you add them up, save them up in the bank and put them on the board next week?" he queried.
Farrar conceded his team's final eight chances were always a bit remote, but will focus on the mini-goal of finishing square on the season's ledger.
"If we win next week we finish with 13 wins and 13 losses and that is something to aim for," he said.
Although savagely depleted by injury, Farrar was happy with his young side's control of the game, though not with the finishing.
"We made them do a lot of tackling in the opening 20 minutes and in the end that probably told on them," he said.
"I thought we could have put a lot bigger hole in them, had blokes turned the right way when they broke the line."
A weary Steve Folkes commended his troops' courage in trying conditions.
"We tried hard and the effort was pretty good, we played some good football in patches," he said.
"But the weight of possession was just too much."
Marshalling that glut of possession was Dragons five-eighth Trent Barrett whose long, accurate passing game is matched only by the Johns brothers.
Barrett's World Cup squad hopes strengthen with each game he plays in the No 6 jersey.
"I’m really enjoying playing and I guess it is up to the selectors. Hopefully, because I haven't played in the semis they won't consider that too much," he said.Source: The Australian
|Hazem El Masri||Fullback||0||0||0||0|
|Brent Sherwin||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Corey Hughes||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Bradley Clyde||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Reardon||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Dennis Scott||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|