Billed as one of the games of the round given the intense rivalries between the two sides, it was a game that lived up to the hype, as the Canterbury Bulldogs notched up their first win of the season, beating the Parramatta Eels 20-16 at ANZ Stadium.
It was a closely fought contest for the entire game with the game’s seven tries coming in the first half, before some gritty defence and determination from both sides in the second prevented either side from scoring.
There was some controversy about the game overall, with one of the Eels tries coming off the back of a potential shoulder charge by Eels halfback Chris Sandow, one that former referees boss Bill Harrigan said should have been a penalty – but instead, it was deemed legitimate and ruled a try to the Eels, resulting in a try to Eels winger Cheyse Blair who scored a double.
“I got him with my shoulder but wrapped him up at the same time and the ball came loose,” he said.
“I was kind of shitting myself at that moment.”
It looked like it was going to turn into a long night for the Eels after they went behind 10-0 early on, but they fought hard to get back into the game with Sandow one of the stand-outs, as he set up two tries and kicked a monster 40/20.
“I’m happier tonight than I was this time last week after our 40-point win,” Stuart said.
“Seeing some of the stuff tonight, I think the big win last week overshadowed why we got the big win.”
Stuart also weighed in on the controversial try to Sandow, with the Eels coach agreeing with the decision.
“If that was classified as a shoulder charge, we may as well go and get some of those tags and put them outside our shorts and play Oztag,” Stuart said.
The games will not get any easier for the Bulldogs, as they face Melbourne next week, a game that Des Hasler knows if they are to have any chance of winning, they have to improve drastically.
“It was pretty poor, we just couldn’t do anything with possession and the possession we had we gave away,” Hasler said.
“We certainly gave them plenty of opportunities so from that aspect it was pretty disappointing.”
3. Josh Reynolds
2. Chris Sandow
1. Aiden Tolman