ROUND 6 - 2011

Date 15th Apr 2011
Venue ANZ Stadium
Coach Kevin Moore
Captain Andrew Ryan
Referee Ashley Klein, Gerard Sutton
Crowd 30687
Bulldogs V Eels
34 14
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Player Tries Goals F Goals Points
Ben Barba 3 0 0 12
Bryson Goodwin 0 5 0 10
Jamal Idris 2 0 0 8
Steve Turner 1 0 0 4

Match Review

1. Ben Barba, 2. Steve Turner, 3. Tim Lafai, 4. Jamal Idris, 5. Bryson Goodwin, 6. Kris Keating, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. Aiden Tolman, 9. Michael Ennis, 10. Mickey Paea, 11. Frank Pritchard, 12. Andrew Ryan, 13. David Stagg.
Interchange: 15. Grant Millington, 16. Corey Payne, 17. Dene Halatau, 19. Michael Hodgson


By Steve Jancetic, AAP

Barba scored a hat-trick as the Bulldogs recovered from a 14-0 deficit, the turnaround sparked by a Hayne brain explosion when he was sin-binned and put on report for headbutting Corey Payne after copping a swinging arm from the Canterbury backrower.

Eels skipper Nathan Hindmarsh and Bulldogs No.9 Michael Ennis joined them in the bin moments later after trading punches off the ball - with Canterbury proceeding to pour in 20 unanswered points over the ensuing 11 minutes before Barba crossed for his third 13 minutes from time to secure the win.

The Eels had been cruising just shy of the half hour as Hayne rediscovered the sort of form which had him labelled the world's best player in 2009 with two brilliant individual efforts.

He trampled over Bulldogs No.7 Trent Hodkinson for the first in the sixth minute before the Dally M medal winner danced around three defenders to make it 12-0.

But he undid all the good work in a moment of madness.

Already without their main man, the Eels could ill-afford Hindmarsh being baited by Ennis just minutes later, the Bulldogs finding the 11-a-side contest to their liking with Steve Turner and Barba scoring two tries within three minutes to bring the visitors to within four.

Then came a piece of acrobatic brilliance as Barba touched down millimetres within the touch in-goal line as his body sailed over the corner post - the try giving Bulldogs a scarcely imaginable share of the lead at the break.

With their full compliment restored, the Eels weren't able to stem the tide, Jamal Idris giving his side a lead they would never relinquish when he finished off some clever work from Kris Keating.

A stripping penalty against Jacob Loko allowed the Bulldogs to pull out by more than a converted try before Barba and Idris grabbed another try each - the latter's effort proving he wasn't ready to clock off yet after earlier this week agreeing to join Gold Coast Titans in 2012.

Eels coach Stephen Kearney conceded his side had no right to cave in the way they did after the Hayne binning.

" ... they had 12 men as well so that doesn't change - it was costly in the sense that we probably lost a bit of momentum there but we ended up getting the penalty," he said.

While obviously livid at the actions of his two leaders, Kearney was critical of his side's inability to regroup as they went to the sheds locked at 14-all at the break.

"That's fairly obvious," Kearney said of his disappointment at the result.

"Just the start of the second half where we found ourselves behind early in the contest there, and just our lack of resolve to be able to fight our way out of that.

"I've been given an awareness that it's going to be a fair journey in that sense, a couple of weeks ago we got behind three times against the Cowboys and we managed to claw our way back, but that's just something we're going to have to work on.

"For me tonight, given the points that were scored against us last week and given the points that were scored against us tonight, that's a real area of concern and real focus for improvement for us."

If you remove Hayne's brilliant opening salvo when he single-handedly engineered a 14-0 lead with a brace of tries, the Eels have now been outscored 72-0 over the past fortnight.

Kearney refused to comment on Hayne's conduct, but Hindmarsh admitted he and the Eels lost control once confronted with adversity.

"It was (a good start), we were feeling good," Hindmarsh said.

"And then something happens and we forget what we're doing.

"After getting sin binned I probably wasn't there, I wasn't in the right frame of mind really, I was thinking of other things so I was disappointed with how I reacted.

"But yeah it was frustrating, they just got a roll on in that second half, you could feel them getting over the top of us."

Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore admitted his men reacted better to the reduced numbers to bounce back after consecutive losses.

"I think we lifted after that," Moore said of the Hayne incident.

"We just started playing a little bit smarter.

"Sitting here with a smile on my face, down 14-0 it was looking a little bit scary at that time."

"Tonight we had to come out and prove to everyone that the last two games were learning experiences and we could come here tonight and put on a good show."

And put on a show they did, with Barba's second try when he dived headlong for the corner to score less than a minute out from halftime, a highlight.

It was the flash of brilliance Barba has regularly shown throughout his stop-start NRL career to date, but it was the solid rather than the spectacular that really caught Moore's eye.

"(It was a) bit of a coming of age for Ben tonight," Moore said.

"He's been really good for us over the first five weeks of the competition.

"If he can just be consistently good and give us the flashes of brilliance that he gave us tonight, he's going to be some player for us down the track."

It wasn't surprising to see Barba come to the fore when both sides were reduced to 11 players each late in the first half, with his double before the break bringing the Bulldogs back into the contest.

The 21-year-old admitted he made a conscious effort to inject himself into the contest as the gaps on the field opened up, his blinding speed and light footwork a deadly combination against a retreating Eels defence.

"I thought this is my chance to use my speed and agility to get around a few blokes - I'm lucky enough that it paid off, Barba said.

"They (the trainers) told me to play a bit more of a five-eighth role because Kris (Keating) had to go to dummy half when Mick (Ennis) had to go off, they said just to get my hands on the ball and make something of it."