The Wests Tigers’ golden run has been stopped by the Bulldogs today, Wests starting the better side and looking sharp early – only to fall away poorly in the second half and allow the Bulldogs to score an unlikely win. Bulldogs winning 32-12.
An improving Sonny Bill Williams was a handful all day, scoring a solid try and proving tough to stop for the Dogs. For the Tigers, Robbie Farrah looked only 50% fit after recovering late from the flu and the Tigers really started blowing as the game drew on. The Tigers playing a flat attack and Brett Hodgson throwing too many long balls that put too much pressure on his side. Dene Halatau the only real stand out for Wests, breaking the line and scoring a nice opportunist try.
In the end, the Bulldogs finished 4 tries to the Tigers 2, with Hazem El Masri getting one and potting 4 conversions to celebrate his record-breaking 273rd game for the Dogs – now registering more than club favourite Steve Mortimer.
The Tigers started well but were eventually overrun by the Bulldogs power game and some average final tackle and kicking choices late in their sets.
The 59th minute told the story of the Tigers day, when John Morris kicked straight into the legs of Sonny Bill Williams. The New Zealand juggernaut showed no signs of the calf troubles that had him in doubt for the match as he raced 80 metres to score beside the posts for a 20-12 lead.
Williams earned a standing ovation as he was taken off for the remainder of the game following the long-distance try. The Bulldogs confirmed the two competition points with tries to Heka Nanai and skipper Andrew Ryan in the final five minutes.
The Tigers opened the scoring after five minutes when Brett Hodgson – showing no ill-effects of last week’s concussion – handled twice as the ball hit the ground to put Beau Ryan over.
A Holdsworth grubber for Luke Patten locked it up at 6-all after 20 minutes, and there was even less resistance for his second try when he dummied his way past a stunned Chris Lawrence for a 10-6 lead.
The Bulldogs gifted the Tigers the lead when Michael Sullivan threw a pass from dummy half which rolled aimlessly across the field, from where Dene Halatau pounced.
But that was the last of the joy for the Tigers, the Bulldogs scoring 22 unanswered points after the break as the visitors wilted against the much bigger Bulldogs forwards.