|Match Date||30th Sep, 2012|
|Venue||Homebush (ANZ Stadium)|
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have fallen at the final hurdle, defeated 14-4 by the Melbourne Storm in the NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium.
The Bulldogs applied plenty of pressure to the Storm line in the second half after holding them at bay for long periods in the first, but were unable to reel in the 14-4 half time lead, with the second half scoreless.
The Storm had all the early momentum, at one stage having 11 sets completed to the Bulldogs 2, but some fantastic goal-line defence limited the Melbourne side to just one try, the opening one to Ryan Hoffman who hit a hole off a pass by Gareth Widdop to open up a 4-0 lead in the seventh minute.
After three straight sets on the Bulldogs line with no return, Cameron Smith took a shot for a penalty goal, but hit the post and the momentum in the game changed in favour of the Bulldogs.
They were denied once when Sisa Waqa knocked down a pass with Canterbury-Bankstown on the attack, but it wouldn't be long before they did get across. Sam Perrett was the try-scorer, latching onto a Krisnan Inu grubber to level the scores before a melee broke out following the try.
James Graham was placed on report following the incident, but it didn't halt the Bulldogs as Josh Reynolds broke free only for a try-saving tackle by Widdop to pull him down.
The Storm took advantage of the tackle, with Billy Slater putting them back into the lead off a Cooper Cronk pass.
Smith's conversion made the score 10-4 after 32 minutes.
After another repeat set they extended their lead in the final minute before the break, with Justin O'Neill crossing in the corner off a Cronk cross-field kick, leaving the Storm in front 14-4 at half time.
The Bulldogs were dominant in the early stages of the second half, with a Melbourne error allowing them to have five straight sets on the Storm line before Michael Ennis was held up over the line on the last tackle.
The Storm worked their way back out from their own end, with Smith missing another shot at penalty goal in the 53rd minute, but some good Bulldogs defence held them at bay again.
Ben Barba came to life in the 62nd minute, using spectacular footwork to break the line and kick inside for Josh Morris, but he wasn't able to get a hold of the ball as Slater knocked the ball dead.
They had another close chance in the 66th minute when Jonathan Wright won the jump to a Barba cross-field kick, but his bat-back inside was forward and the Storm were let off the hook.
The Storm looked to have gone further in front in the 68th minute, but he was ruled to be offside from the kick and the try was disallowed.
Unfortunately the Bulldogs weren't able to run down the Storm's lead in the final 20 minutes, with Melbourne victorious 14-4.
|Josh Reynolds||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Kris Keating||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Josh Jackson||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Frank Pritchard||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Sam Kasiano||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Aiden Tolman||Front Row||0||0||0||0|