|Match Date||27th Apr, 2007|
|Venue||Homebush (Telstra Stadium)|
Wests Tigers proved their poor early-season form was a thing of the past in upsetting NRL premiership fancies the Bulldogs 34-18 at Telstra Stadium on Saturday night.
The Tigers ran in six tries to three to notch up their second straight win after opening the season with four straight losses, young centre Dean Collis the hero for the visitors after scoring two first-half tries and setting up another.
Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall had one of his quieter games but still managed a personal haul of 14 points courtesy of a try - which gave the 2005 premiers an almost unassailable lead - and five conversions.
Down 16-6 at the break, the Bulldogs had to be first to score, and they went close on a number of occasions with Chris Armit dropping the ball over the line and Willie Tonga losing it as he stretched out to score.
They paid the price for their inability to capitalise when Marshall pounced on an errant pass from Bulldogs fullback Luke Patten, the ball striking the knee of Tigers prop Todd Payten before the Kiwi five-eighth scooped up the ball and raced 75 metres to score.
The Bulldogs threatened a comeback when a brilliant Brent Sherwin flick pass sent Sonny Bill Williams over for a try, but Collis ensured his early effort would not go to waste when he brushed past Daniel Holdsworth to set up Daniel Fitzhenry for the match-sealer 18 minutes from time.
Hazem El Masri scored a late consolation try for the Bulldogs, but Tigers second-rower Chris Heighington completed the rout when he touched down on a Brett Hodgson grubber.
While the game between the Telstra Stadium co-tenants didn't quite match the brutal nature of the corresponding battle last year, there was still plenty of feeling early with three players bandaged up within the opening 20 minutes after suffering head cuts.
There was also plenty of action on the scoreboard in that time, with Collis' double sandwiched around a soft try to Bulldogs prop Willie Mason.
Tigers hooker Dene Halatau gave the Tigers the early initiative when he burst through the heart of the Bulldogs defence to set up Collis' first after four minutes before Mason ran through some flimsy goal line defence to lock it up after nine minutes.
A communication mix-up between Patten and Mark O'Meley saw the restart roll over the dead-ball line and the Tigers pounced, Bulldogs winger Trent Cutler fumbling a Benji Marshall grubber kick straight into the hands of Collis for his second.
Cutler's horror night continued when he spilled a John Morris bomb moments later, the sustained period of dominance eventually telling with Morris dancing and dummying his way over the line for a 10-point half-time lead.
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||1||3||0||10|
|Daniel Holdsworth||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Brent Sherwin||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Sonny Bill Williams||Second Row||1||0||0||4|
|Andrew Ryan||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Willie Mason||Front Row||1||0||0||4|
|Mark O'Meley||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Lee Te Maari||Replacement||0||0||0||0|