The Bulldogs have continued their winning ways and disposed of the Sydney Roosters in ruthless style tonight at Telstra Stadium, Homebush.
It was good to see 20,000+ fans check in to Telstra as Monday night football continues to be a big winner for the NRL. Considering the cold weather and the extensive Fox TV coverage, it’s pleasing to see the faithful turn out in big numbers and it’s a good advantage the NRL has over rival codes who don’t have a similar product.
Injured half Mitchell Pearce made it hard for the Roosters early, with his injury causing the youngster to miss 2 penalty kicks for touch – with one resulting in an early Bulldogs try. These two critical early mishaps really forced the Roosters on to the back foot for most of the game. Had possession and completions been allowed to play out here, we really could have seen a different footy game.
The Roosters did well to hang on during the first half. As the Bulldogs got more possession, Sonny Bill Williams got into his zone and simply was impossible to stop. If two defenders came in on SBW, then he would basketball lob or reverse flick it to his outside or inside men. He was just in one of those moods.
While Jarrad Hickey and Sonny Bill Williams scored for the Dogs, the Roosters finally got a decent possession swing but were only able to jag 1 try. They were penalised for a double movement in one instance and bombed a certain try in another, so they could have led at half time.
When the second half got underway the Bulldogs got a much better roll on in the forwards. Hickey and Kouparitsas were both having good games, but reserves Morrin, Brideson and Wheatly were super strong for the Dogs. So much so I feel Folkes may even keep some of these fringe guys on the bench moving forward this season.
The Roosters kept hanging on for grim life, but as the Dogs forwards rolled on – you then had SBW carving out wide and Cameron Phelps bagging a double for the night and playing strongly in all areas. The other big plus for the Dogs was the combination and kicking games of Ben Roberts and Brent Sherwin. Shifty was back to his deft best with the kicks and Roberts took the pressure off nicely when needed.
The Roosters, while beaten comprehensively really won’t be too devastated with the result. Had Mitchell Pearce been fully fit and not made crucial early errors and become a passenger in defence – this could have been a different game. Craig Wing looked eager and played his best game in a while and I continue to like the look of Roosters sub forward Lopini Paea. For the last few weeks Paea has been a runaway train, the big man reminds me of the Penrith forwards of 2003 – he hits the line so hard and busts it with ease. Keep your eye on this man!
Last mention is for referee Jarred Maxwell, he literally got every call right tonight. Kept discipline in the game and went to the video and sideline men only when needed. Top showing from the ref with only 21 games under his belt.
Next week the Bulldogs head over to Sharkville to play Cronulla and the Roosters have the killer road trip to Brookvale where they face a real uphill battle against Manly.
To see the full Steve Folkes – NRL Media Press Conference – Click Here
To see the full Chris Anderson – NRL Media Press Conference – Click Here