|Match Date||18th May, 2014|
|Opponent||New Zealand Warriors|
|Venue||New Zealand (Waikato Stadium)|
The play of the year. That’s how Canterbury skipper Michael Ennis described Josh Morris’s try-saving, match-saving tackle on Shaun Johnson in last night’s 16-12 NRL win over New Zealand in Hamilton.
The Warriors were never entitled to win the game but, with their typical fighting comeback, they almost tied it up in the dying minutes, when Johnson showed all his gas in racing to the right-hand corner.
Cue a brilliant desperate leaping tackle from Morris, which put the speedster across the sideline.
‘‘In the end, to be honest, I think it was the play of the year that Josh Morris came up with there – that was something special,’’ a relieved Ennis said. ‘‘I thought he was home and then Josh, just a special player, very special player. That was just pure attitude. And it’s probably why he plays at the level that he does, playing in the test a few weeks ago, and no doubt he’ll be in the Origin side on Tuesday. Moments like that, when you need someone to do special things, he does it.’’
After the Warriors opened the scoring, soft handling errors cost them and they were made to defend for long periods, which was their ultimate undoing. They only completed 27 of their 38 sets (the Dogs were 31 of 38) and were forced to make 355 tackles to 294.
‘‘Against a good side, you can’t give them easy opportunities and we did that after half-time without putting any pressure on them,’’ Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said.
The Dogs’ big forwards got a roll-on and, when James Graham and Greg Eastwood crossed in the second stanza, the ‘‘home’’ side looked set to comfortably close it out. However, Ennis said he felt 16-6 was not going to be enough.
‘‘We just stayed in our defensive processes and, fortunately enough, we were able to hang on,’’ he said. ‘‘Two times in a month over here, it’s really pleasing to come away with two wins. They’re a good footy side the Warriors.’’
The Bulldogs have now won seven on the trot and have opened up a four-point lead at the top of the ladder, with Manly looking to close that on Monday night.
‘‘It was just a tough, grinding game of footy and we were pleased that we held on,’’ coach Des Hasler said. ‘‘There were some aspects of our game that weren’t too bright. We played a bit dumb in some areas, we probably put a little bit more pressure on ourselves than we needed to.’’
But it is the Warriors who will rue lost opportunities. McFadden felt they lacked polish but was still proud of the effort that went in.
‘‘With the possession count midway through the second half there, we shouldn’t have been that close and we somehow managed to give ourselves a chance to win the game,’’ he said.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
|Josh Reynolds||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Trent Hodkinson||Half Back||0||2||0||4|
|Tony Williams||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Josh Jackson||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|James Graham||Front Row||1||0||0||4|
|Aiden Tolman||Front Row||0||0||0||0|