Bulldogs Thump Eels

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have defeated the Parramatta Eels 32-12 at ANZ Stadium on Friday night. Brett Morris, Sam Perrett and Curtis Rona doubles helped the Dogs claim the points late in the second half as Parramatta struggled with niggling injuries throughout the match.

Rona crossed in the 11th minute to put Canterbury up 4-0. The Bulldogs enjoyed the majority of possession flaunting an impressive 11/11 completion rate that stretched the Eels defence.

The blue and yellows were forced to make three-times more tackles in defence in the opening quarter and the toll was heavy, losing Watmough through a deep cut to his knee and Chris Sandow with a leg injury. Sandow would return in the second half, but Watmough was forced to rest in a big blow for the Eels.

Brett Morris finished a well executed set play on the right fringe in the 20th minute to convert the Bulldogs’ statistical dominance into an 8-0 lead.

Parramatta rallied with several assaults on the Canterbury-Bankstown line, but the Dogs held strong, clearing probing kicks and halting strong, wide runs with some staunch defence.

It was left up to Semi Radradra to crack the scoreboard for the Eels again with his 28th career try. The powerful winger was gifted a perfectly timed pass in the 34th minute from five-eighth Corey Norman, to bring the Eels back into the contest at 8-4 in the left corner.

Radradra nearly scored again minutes later but was prevented by a Brett Morris ankle-tap and Josh Jackson cover tackle. The tackle saw Semi retreat to the bench after falling awkwardly.

Manu Ma’u got the Eels off to the perfect start in the second half, running the perfect line to maximise another deft, muted pass from Norman. Watmough’s replacement ran the perfect line 20 out to level the scores at 8-8 in the first play of the second half.

Parramatta’s momentum was halted almost immediately when Dogs winger Sam Perrett crossed twice in 5 minutes. A late-switch to the right close to the line put the Dogs up by 2 while an opportunistic Greg Eastwood grubber towards the posts was fumbled by the defence and grounded by Perrett under the posts. The margin pushed out to 8 points after both tries were converted by Trent Hodkinson.   

Although Parramatta worked possession back to 50/50, they could not crack the Canterbury-Bankstown defence. Poor handling and almost double the penalty count made it hard to get back into the match. A first-tackle handling error by Darcy Lussick in the 72nd minute broke the spirit of the Eels attack.

Canterbury seized the opportunity, scoring twice in the final 7 minutes through Brett Morris and Rona.

“Once we started trading set for set with them we knew it would come down to the wire, which it did,” commented man of the match Brett Morris who has now scored three times in the opening two matches for the Bulldogs.

Image: Getty Images – Brendon Thorne