2001: ROUND 20

vs Brisbane

Match Details
Match Date 22nd Jul, 2001
Opponent Brisbane
Result Win
Coach Steven Folkes
Captain Darren Britt
Venue Brisbane (ANZ Stadium)
Crowd 25,830
Referee Sean Hampstead

Any lingering doubts over the Bulldogs premiership credentials were dismissed in emphatic fashion at ANZ Stadium this afternoon as they overcame Brisbane 37-30 in a highly entertaining encounter played in front of over 25,000 fans.

In a game where both sides displayed considerable flair and enterprise as the score fluctuated dramatically, the Bulldogs ability to convert a purple patch in the last 20 minutes of the first half into enough points to quell the inevitable Brisbane comeback late in the game proved the decisive factor.

Before this afternoon's encounter, the Bulldogs hadn't ever beaten the Broncos at ANZ Stadium. The trend looked like it would continue as the Broncos raced to an early 12-0 through tries to Ashley Harrison and Lote Tuqiri. Harrison was able to push through weak clutching defense from Luke Patten and Steve Reardon to dive over after 5 minutes, while 8 minutes later a Darren Britt dropped ball coming out of his own territory led to a Brisbane raid and a subsequent try to Tuqiri after the Bulldogs were stretched thin on the left flank. The Bulldogs looked overawed and uncertain in both attack and defence and in previous seasons this early deficit against a class outfit would be ominous for a side which struggled to score tries, however the addition of the likes of Darryl Trindall, Braith Anasta and Nigel Vagana have ensured that the Bulldogs circa 2001 are a significantly improved side.

However, while the momentum for the comeback came through Vagana in the 17th minute who stepped inside Tuqiri and Chris Walker before sending Darren Smith over, the real impetus came through the tenacious defense of the Bulldogs in the very next set after Willie Talau dropped the kickoff. The Bulldogs held their line as well as any side have this year during continuous Broncos attacking raids in the first half. Clearly they have found the strength in the forwards to complement their new found attacking potency. Steve Price, playing his best game of the year, was a constant danger, first sending Vagana on a long run, before charging down a Lockyer clearance enabling Trindall to send through a now tradmark short grubber for a steaming Talau to level the scores after 28 minutes. The Bulldogs hit the front for the first time five minutes later as Britt held off two defenders to send Steve Reardon over and this lead was extended just three minutes later when another classy run by Vagana led to a Price try after a brilliant pass from Jamie Feeney.

If Brisbane had visions of reasserting their dominance quickly after halftime, these hopes were soon put to rest by a simply scintilating try scored by Vagana. Brent Sherwin, who impressed when he came on for Corey Hughes, touched twice and quick hands from Britt, Trindall, Smith and Luke Patten saw the Bulldogs swing the ball from the left to the right for the flying Kiwi international. The Bulldogs then passed 30 for the fifth consecutive game as Trindall once again grubbered for Anasta to score and the lead was extended to 22. However, the reigning premiers are not taken to accepting such treatment sitting down, and with that, the tide turned in the 62nd minute when a long Walters ball went to ground, stagnating the defensive line which allowed Dane Carlaw to bust the line and send Tuqiri over for his second. If it had seemed all plain sailing for the Bulldogs previously, this parry polluted the sea with the scent of blood for the potent Broncos backline and surging runs from Wendall Sailor and Walker were punctuated by a brilliant 90m run from Tuqiri, who evaded Trindall and El Masri before stretching out of the Patten cover defence to score his hat-trick and the Broncos were looking menacing. However, a questionable penalty in the 71st minute awarded to the Bulldogs after Trindall was felled chasing his own grubber stretched the lead to twelve and an Anasta field goal two minutes later assured an historic victory. A late consolation try to Chris Walker added some respectability to the scoreline for Brisbane.

The ANZ triumph was another decisive step by the Bulldogs toward establishing premiership credibility. Today, they clearly showed that they have both the variety and skill in the backs and the power and versatility in the forwards needed to win the title. Sadly for Brisbane, they are struggling to establish continuity in attack without a consistent scrumbase pairing - their selection crisis heightened by the sickening broken leg suffered by Scott Prince while charging down a Sherwin clearance. For the Bulldogs, Price, Britt and Feeney were dominant in the forwards while the class of Trindall, Anasta, Sherwin and the explosive Vagana proved too much for the Broncos defense. For Brisbane, Tuqiri was an exceptional performer in a well beaten side.

Source: www.rleague.com

Player Position Tries Goals F Goals Points
Luke Patten Fullback 0 0 0 0
Hazem El Masri Wing 0 6 0 12
Shane Marteene Wing 0 0 0 0
Willie Talau Centre 1 0 0 4
Nigel Vagana Centre 1 0 0 4
Braith Anasta Five Eighth 1 0 1 5
Darrell Trindall Half Back 0 0 0 0
Darren Smith Lock 1 0 0 4
Steve Reardon Second Row 1 0 0 4
Willie Mason Second Row 0 0 0 0
Steve Price Front Row 1 0 0 4
Darren Britt Front Row 0 0 0 0
Corey Hughes Hooker 0 0 0 0
Jamie Feeney Replacement 0 0 0 0
Barry Ward Replacement 0 0 0 0
Brent Sherwin Replacement 0 0 0 0
Dennis Scott Replacement 0 0 0 0
Total: 6 6 1 37