Dogs advance to NRL grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs advance to NRL grand final

By Daniel Pace 25/09/2004 09:59:00 PM Comments (0)

The Bulldogs completely dominated the second half of Saturday night's NRL preliminary final clash with Penrith to notch up a 30-14 victory and advance to their first grand final since 1998.

In Sunday's decider the Bulldogs will meet the winner of the preliminary final between North Queensland and the Sydney Roosters at Telstra Stadium.

Bulldogs No.7 Brent Sherwin controlled the game superbly, aided by a dominant performance from forwards Mark O'Meley, Willie Mason and Sonny Bill Williams, whose off-loads caused havoc for the premiers.

Winger Hazem El Masri bagged a hat-trick of tries and kicked four goals from seven attempts in his 200th first grade appearance.

The Panthers, coming off a week's rest, lost the battle in the forwards but they weren't helped by injuries and a lack of possession in the second half.

Kiwi international Joe Galuvao left the field in the 17th minute after receiving an accidental kick in the right eye by Mason while Test prop Joel Clinton did not play the second half because of a knee injury.

The 'Dogs can be proud of their efforts after their skipper Steve Price suffered a medial ligament strain of the left knee in the third minute.

"I'll be doing my very best to be out there (next Sunday) but I'm not going to do anything stupid and let the team down," said Price after the game.

Penrith held an 8-4 advantage at halftime after both teams scored a try apiece in a blistering opening stanza.

Panthers centre Ryan Girdler, who along with prop Martin Lang played their final games before retiring, kicked a 9th minute penalty goal in a furious-paced game.

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