ROUND 24 - 2008

Date 23rd Aug 2008
Venue ANZ Stadium
Coach Steve Folkes
Captain Andrew Ryan
Referee Steve Lyons
Crowd 27564
Bulldogs V Eels
12 26
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Player Tries Goals F Goals Points
Heka Nanai 1 0 0 4
Tim Winitana 1 0 0 4
Hazem El Masri 0 2 0 4

Match Review


1. Hazem El Masri, 2. Heka Nanai, 3. Jamal Idris, 4. Tim Winitana, 5. Matt Utai, 6. Ben Roberts, 7. Daniel Holdsworth, 8. Jarrad Hickey, 9. Corey Hughes, 10. Chris Armit, 11. Gary Warburton, 12. Andrew Ryan, 13. Lee Te Maari.
Interchange: 14. Frank Winterstein, 15. Brad Morrin, 16. Charlie Leaeno, 17. Nick Kouparitsas


Match Review:
By Aaron Eastgate

The Mitsubishi Electric Bulldogs have produced their best performance in recent times but it wasn't enough to beat the Eels in tonight's Bandaged Bear Cup at ANZ Stadium.

The second game of the ANZ Stadium double header saw Parramatta win 26-12 despite trailing at haltime. The Bulldogs put in a courageous effort to stun the Eels at the break before they ran out of puff in the second half, letting in three tries as Parramatta stormed home with 20 unanwered points.

Taulima Tautai opened the account for the Eels when he eased through some soft defence from centre Tim Winitana. In his return game Luke Burt nailed the sideline conversion to give the Eels an early 6-0 lead.

The Bulldogs had plenty of opportunities to post points of their own but like recent weeks they simply could not execute and continued to drop the ball hot on the attack.

Finally after 24 minutes and following several chances down the left flank the blue-and-whites went to the right finding Heka Nanai who crashed over out wide. El Masri moved two points closer to the all-time point scoring record with a superb conversion from out wide to level the scores at 6-6.

Confidence has been absent from the Bulldogs pack for the latter part of the season but it was finally starting to appear and it nearly resulted in a second try five minutes later when Matt Utai was taken into touch as he attacked the corner post.

It was all the Bulldogs and they were unlucky not to go ahead when Andrew Ryan appeared to score. The video referee ruled Matt Utai knocked the ball on as he contested the bomb but the disappointment was short lived as Tim Winitana dove over moments later on the back of some brilliant ball movement. Again El Masri nailed the sideline conversion and the Bulldogs had a rare 12-6 lead approaching the halftime break.

An error from Matt Utai with a minute left on the clock almost led to disaster for the Bulldogs as Feleti Mateo raced away down the left flank. However the decision to play Hazem El Masri at fullback paid off for coach Steve Folkes as the veteran forced the big Eel into throwing a wayward offload into the hands of Heka Nanai with a text book cover tackle.

The Eels seemed shell-shocked and started the second half with another error but the Dogs could not consolidate as a Holdsworth chip failed to find Jamal Idris out wide.

In the corresponding match against Parramatta last season Brad Morrin found himself on report for that infamous bite on Timana Tahu and one year on he was in the spotlight once more when he struck both Jarryd Hayne and Luke Burt high and was placed on report.

The two sides were getting back to basics and it was working in favour of the Eels as they gained plenty of metres up the middle. Eventually they found themselves attacking the Dogs line and it was Luke Burt who scored their second for the night when he squeezed over out wide. Burt contnued the classy kicking display as he coverted his own try to level the scores at 12-12.

The confidence that started to shine through for the Bulldogs late in the first half seemed to go back into hiding as Parramatta began to take control of the contest and level out the possession. Before too long the Eels found themselves back in front when Luke Burt slotted a penalty goal on the back of an Andrew Ryan penalty.

From the kick-restart Daniel Holdsworth kicked the ball out on the full and paid a heavy price as the Eels moved up field and crashed over through Chad Robinson and suddenly it was all the blue-and-gold. Luke Burt added to his personal tally with another conversion and the Eels led 20-12 with 18 minutes remaining.

The crowd could not be blamed for thinking there may have been a fifth team involved in the double header - the second half Bulldogs not the same team that graced the field in the opening stanza.

Big Jarrad Hickey nearly got the Doggies back into the contest as he bulldozed his way over the line only to be held up by some desperate Parramatta defence and soon after it was Tim Winitana who was close but not close enough.

A disappointing end for the Bulldogs as the Eels posted a last minute try but there are plenty of positives to take away from the game if you're a Bulldgs fan with the emergence of teenager Jamal Idris, the young giant showed plenty of confidence under the high ball and produced some much needed flare out wide.

After leading 12-6 at the break the Bulldogs just couldn't post second half points and once again it came down to poor execution both early and late in the tackle count as the visitors came away 26-12 winners and claimed The Bandaged Bear Cup for the second year running.